We are able to offer comprehensive, specialized care for patients with benign and malignant oral, head, and neck cancer. The surgeons are able to remove tumors including the mouth, face, jaw, tongue, pharynx (throat), larynx (voice box), thyroid gland, as well as salivary gland tumors.
Our surgeons offer interdisciplinary specialization in head and neck cancer treatment and reconstructive surgery including head and neck surgeons, microvascular surgeons, maxillofacial surgeons, maxillofacial prosthodontists, general dentists, and medical and radiation oncologists.
Patients referred to Baylor University Medical Center usually have evidence of a tumor, either through biopsy or X-ray. The initial visit involves a complete evaluation by a head and neck cancer surgeon, including additional diagnostic procedures such as fine needle aspiration, open biopsies, CT scans, and MRI studies. During this time the patient is educated about his or her problem so that a decision can be made together for ultimate treatment.
Once the data is collected, treatment begins, which may include surgery, or radiation alone, or a combination of surgery and radiation, and in some cases chemotherapy. Clinical trials for chemotherapy preventative agents and emerging surgical techniques are made available to appropriate patients.
We specialize and focus on reconstructive rehabilitation of patients with functional and cosmetic defects as a result of ablative surgery. Microvascular free flaps and osseointegrated implants are routinely utilized to restore patients’ ability to swallow, speak and chew normally, and to maintain normal appearance. Whenever possible, our surgeons will place dental implants and work closely with the patient’s general dentist to optimize dental rehabilitation. Many head and neck surgeons around the country work with great dentists in their efforts to reconstruct an ablative defect following oral cancer surgery, but here, we are dentists as well as medical doctors. This means that there is a difference in planning the surgery, the accuracy of the reconstruction and final result when the surgeon who plans and performs the surgery is able to view this problem from the dual viewpoint of a head and neck/reconstructive surgeon and as a dentist.
Post-operative care is geared towards monitoring the patient for recurrence of tumors with frequent follow up visits for the first two years after surgery, and every three months up to five years. Five years after surgery, we see our patients annually.