The automotive industry is not the only one doing great things in Detroit; surgeons at Henry Ford Hospital in the Motor City have found a way to restore function of one’s jaw and mouth after removing a rare tumor.
Medical News Today is reporting that the news that a novel form of surgery can rebuild a functioning lower jaw and mouth after the extraction of an invasive bone cancer tumor. This can restore a patient’s ability to speak and eat. The patient was able to talk and eat without help about three months after the surgery.
The case study shows that the surgery was successful and revealed the unusual form of the cancer, known as osteosarcoma. The subject is a 21-year-old African American male that had a history of the cancer. The bone cancer, which affects 5 million patients under the age of 20, is often found in long leg bones and rarely spreads to other body parts.
The form of osteosarcoma found in the case study spread in most of the jaw bone, chin, neck skin, lower lip, tongue and cheeks of the patient, according to senior study author Dr. Tamer A. Ghanem, director of the Head and Neck Oncology & Microvascular Surgery Division at Henry Ford Hospital. It spread to the jaw bone about three years after the first diagnosis, and the tumor weighed nearly 10 pounds.
Dr. Ghanem states that they “had to think outside the box to not only safely remove the tumor, but to allow for optimum functional outcome” in this situation. Along with colleague Dr. Francis Hall, they created the plan to extract the tumor and oral tongue along with reconstructing the lower third of the patient’s face. The procedure was a near-total mandibulectomy (the elimination of bone from the lower jaw), mucous membrane from the lower lip and both cheeks, and removal of the tongue. The procedure took approximately 20 hours.