Author(s): Zuydam AC, Rogers SN, Brown JS, Vaughan ED, Magennis P, Zuydam AC, Rogers SN, Brown JS, Vaughan ED, Magennis P
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Abstract The resection of even relatively small tumours that involve the base of tongue can lead to problems with swallowing. Free tissue transfer has improved the functional results and reduced the complications of head and neck surgery. The outcome after ablative operations depends on the site and extent of the resection, and in cases where the tongue base is involved, swallowing can be severely impaired. Aspiration in a patient with swallowing difficulties is of particular concern, however, there is a range of techniques that can be introduced during videofluoroscopy to reduce or eliminate aspiration. It is during the rehabilitation phase that procedures and techniques to improve swallowing and prevent aspiration should be incorporated. The efficacy of adaptive manoeuvres needs further evaluation, and in this study we aim to assess the effectiveness of compensatory procedures and therapy techniques (chin tuck and supraglottic swallow) in eliminating aspiration. We report on a study of the swallow function of 13 patients following surgical resection of the oropharynx including the base of tongue. Postoperative assessment by videofluoroscopy was carried out at 2 weeks, 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months according to a standard protocol. Subjects were analysed in two groups depending on the degree of resection of the tongue base resection (less than 1/4,1/4 or more).Patients' swallowing disorders were related to the extent of the resection and the consistency of the bolus. Those with involvement of a quarter of the tongue base or more generally had greater impairment, and radiotherapy tended to exacerbate these problems. Compensatory procedures and therapy techniques were effective in 50\% of patients who aspirated, and tended to be more effective between the one month and 6 month follow-up in patients with smaller resections. Copyright 2000 The British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.
This article was published in Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg
and referenced in Oral Health Case Reports