Improvements in surgical technique and diagnostic imaging have had little survival impact on cancer-patients. The issue of quality of life has therefore emerged as an important outcome measure in the treatment of patients with head and neck cancer. The patient's functional and physical status and social and emotional well-being have become important endpoints in the final management decisions of these patients. In the last decade, microvascular free-tissue transfer techniques have been refined and improved. The ability to replace composite tissue defects with vascularized composite tissue has allowed better composite reconstruction for these patients. With improvements in functional reconstruction has come the question of whether these methods impact favorably on the functional rehabilitation of these patients. Quality of life measurements constitute one method of determining the impact of both the ablative, as well as the rehabilitative, efforts that have been undertaken. In this article, quality of life issues as they relate to the head and neck cancer patient are reviewed, with a particular emphasis on patients undergoing microvascular reconstruction of oral cavity/oropharyngeal defects.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Current Opinion in Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery|
|State||Published - Dec 1 1999|
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