Microvascular reconstruction is a surgical procedure that can restore function and appearance of areas affected by head and neck cancer.
Continue reading for everything you need to know about head and neck microvascular and reconstructive surgery, including types of reconstruction, treatment course, and recovery.
Types of Reconstruction for Head and Neck Cancer
Head and neck surgeries can vary and require different reconstruction methods. Some of the popular types of reconstruction for head and neck cancer are:
Local flaps: When tissue is taken from nearby areas of the cancer site to repair the affected area
Regional flaps: When tissue is taken from areas adjacent to the cancer site, like the chest or back, to repair the affected area
Free flaps: When tissue is taken from other parts of the body, such as the abdomen or thigh, to reconstruct the affected area
Microvascular surgery: When blood vessels are removed and reattached to received blood supply from other parts of the body.
What Is Microvascular Reconstruction for Head and Neck Cancer?
Microvascular reconstruction for head and neck cancer is a type of reconstructive surgery that involves reattaching blood vessels, nerves, and tissue in the affected area. This is done to restore function and appearance after cancer treatment has caused damage or disfigurement.
The term “microvascular” refers to the use of a microscope during the procedure to ensure precise reattachment of these vital structures. This type of surgery is also known as free flap reconstruction or microsurgical tissue transfer.
What to Expect from Reconstructive Surgery
Treatment course varies depending on the surgery you receive, but it usually involves a hospital stay of a few days to a couple of weeks. Most people experience discomfort and swelling after surgery, which should subside within a week or two. Pain medication will be available to help with the pain.
Speech therapy may also be necessary post-surgery, especially if your speech or swallowing has been affected. In some cases, chemotherapy and radiotherapy may be necessary after reconstructive surgery.
Microvascular Reconstruction Recovery
Recovery time for head and neck microvascular reconstructive surgery varies from person to person. It can take three to six months for the area to completely heal, and in some cases, more time may be required.
During recovery, it’s essential to follow your doctor’s instructions and attend follow-up appointments to monitor your progress.
Learn More About Microvascular Reconstruction for Head and Neck Cancer
For additional information about head and neck cancer reconstructive surgery, please call our office to schedule a consultation with one of our ENT specialists.