Functional evaluation following microvascular oromandibular reconstruction of the oral cancer patient: a comparative study of reconstructed and nonreconstructed patients

The Laryngoscope
Mark L UrkenW Lawson


Over the past decade, the use of free flap transfers in head and neck surgery has led to remarkable advances in the reliability and the ultimate results of oromandibular reconstruction. Stable and retentive dental restorations have been achieved using enosseous implants placed directly into the vascularized bone flaps. However, the functional assessment of patients who underwent primary mandibular reconstruction with these techniques has not been previously reported. A group of 10 reconstructed and 10 nonreconstructed segmental hemimandibulectomy patients were compared using a battery of tests to assess their overall well-being, cosmesis, deglutition, oral competence, speech, length of hospitalization, and dental rehabilitation. In addition, objective measures of the masticatory apparatus (interincisal opening, bite force, chewing performance, and chewing stroke) were used to compare these two groups as well as normal healthy subjects and edentulous patients restored with conventional and implant-borne dentures. The results show a clear advantage for the reconstructed patients in almost all categories. Persistent problems and future directions in oromandibular reconstruction are discussed.


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