lower-jaw-with-cancer.jpgThe ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) surgeons of Mayo Clinic have developed new method for lower jaw reconstruction following removal of oral cancer. Those suffering oral cancer, involving part of the lower jaw are the candidates for the new reconstructive surgery. To totally erase the tumor surgically, surgeons have to remove part of the lower jaw. Without reconstructive surgery, patients use to have difficulty in eating and speaking, and used to develop a significant facial deformity, says Eric Moore, M.D., Mayo Clinic ENT surgeon and senior study investigator. The procedure for jaw reconstruction following removal of an oral cancer involves transfer of bone from the patient's fibula in the leg, along with surrounding muscle, skin and the supplying vessels.

Although the aesthetic and functional result for the lower jaw is fine, this procedure has following demerits:

* The surgery takes all day to complete and is expensive
* The patient has a second surgical site to heal (leg and lower jaw) and is less mobile post-surgery
* In male patients, the transfer of fibula and surrounding skin can lead to the appearance of leg hair inside the patient's mouth
* The surgery is not feasible for patients who do not have healthy vessels in their legs
* The surgery can inadvertently damage the leg's nerves, leaving the patient with some leg weakness
* The fibula bone can die following transfer

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