Head and Neck Cancer Surgery and the Speech-Language Pathologist The speech-language pathologist (SLP) plays a critical role in the surgical management of head and neck cancer. The surgeon is often confronted with the challenge of achieving balance between tumor control and physiologic function. Advances in surgical and reconstructive techniques, radiation, and medical protocols have introduced the concept of ... Article
Article  |   June 01, 2006
Head and Neck Cancer Surgery and the Speech-Language Pathologist
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Allen O. Mitchell
    Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
  • Serdar Karahatay
    Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
  • Eric R. Oliver
    Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
  • Walter E. James
    Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
  • Zoran Rumboldt
    Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
  • M. Boyd Gillespie
    Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
  • Betsy K. Davis
    Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
  • Rebekah McCown
    Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
  • Terry A. Day
    Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Voice Disorders / Swallowing, Dysphagia & Feeding Disorders / Special Populations / Articles
Article   |   June 01, 2006
Head and Neck Cancer Surgery and the Speech-Language Pathologist
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), June 2006, Vol. 15, 9-14. doi:10.1044/sasd15.2.9
SIG 13 Perspectives on Swallowing and Swallowing Disorders (Dysphagia), June 2006, Vol. 15, 9-14. doi:10.1044/sasd15.2.9
The speech-language pathologist (SLP) plays a critical role in the surgical management of head and neck cancer. The surgeon is often confronted with the challenge of achieving balance between tumor control and physiologic function. Advances in surgical and reconstructive techniques, radiation, and medical protocols have introduced the concept of organ preservation and improved post-therapy quality of life outcomes. Optimal management of head and neck cancer is a multidisciplinary endeavor. Greater than 90% of head and neck malignancies are squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Current treatment modalities for head and neck SCC (HNSCC) include surgery alone, full-course radiation therapy, combination radiation and surgery, and chemotherapy before or during radiation. This review will survey the surgical approach to head and neck SCC by addressing the relevant surgical anatomy, surgical indications, basic technical principles, reconstructive options and implications related to the role of the SLP. The objective is to facilitate the SLP’s ability to assess candidacy for organ preservation procedures, anticipate the probable post-treatment anatomic and functional deficits, and rehabilitate these often complex patients.
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