Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

'Beavertail' surgery helps tongue cancer patients

18.01.2007
A new surgical technique pioneered at the University of Alberta has given back the ability to swallow to patients with tongue cancer.

By modifying an existing technique of transplanting tissue from a patient's forearm to his tongue, surgeons can provide enough bulk to help improve the vital process of swallowing. The modification involves including a 'jellyroll'of fat and connective tissue along with the tissue and skin of the forearm to replace the diseased tongue tissue that is removed if a patient opts for surgical treatment of the cancer. The surgery is then followed up with radiation or chemotherapy, but that shrinks and scars the tongue, turning normally elastic and pliable tissue to something like wood. This reduces the patient's ability to swallow to the point that they must be fed through a tube placed through their skin directly into the stomach, because they can't take enough food to maintain their calorie requirements.

The so-called 'beavertail' modification adds more bulk to the tongue, helping protect it from the effects of radiotherapy.

The study's findings support the position that the surgery is just as effective as the standard treatment of combined chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but the surgical technique also preserves the patient's ability to swallow, said Dr. Dan O'Connell, lead author on the study and a surgical resident in the University of Alberta's Division of Otolarynology – Head and Neck Surgery.

"Other centres in Canada treat patients using radiotherapy and chemotherapy alone, and it was thought that the results were as good or better than what any surgery could do," O'Connell said. "But we found that by adding that jellyroll of tissue, you give the tongue ability to compensate for its lack of mobility." The technique, developed by Dr. Hadi Seikaly and Dr. Jeff Harris, preserves the patient's ability to swallow after treatment.

The study was conducted jointly by researchers in the University of Alberta faculties of Medicine and Dentistry, and Rehabilitation Medicine, as well as the Misericordia Hospital in Edmonton, Canada. O'Connell presented their findings at the international meeting of the annual American Head and Neck Society in Chicago earlier this year, where the study won the title of Best Resident Clinical Research Award.

The beavertail modification meant that 95 per cent of the 20 patients who completed the study (there were 36 originally) were able to swallow successfully after one year of tongue reconstruction. Only one patient still had problems with swallowing.

The surgery involves removing the cancerous tissue and replacing it with a healthy paddle of skin and connective tissue with artery intact, and connecting it to healthy blood vessels in the neck. The beavertail of fat that comes with the skin is connected to the base of the tongue to add bulk, and tolled upon itself, much like a jellyroll. The tongue is crucial to the swallowing process; the base of a healthy tongue acts as a piston that pushes food down the throat. With surgery, the reconstructed tongue instead acts as a buttress, which squeezes the food into the esophagus.

There are about 900 cases of cancer of the base of tongue or tonsils diagnosed in Canada each year, and while that accounts for just one per cent of all cancers in North America, doctors are seeing a disturbing trend. The cancer is attributed to smoking and alcohol consumption, but the fastest-growing group of new cases involves people who don't have those risk factors. "It's not an epidemic, but it is scary when you realize you can do everything right and still be saddled with this condition," O'Connell noted.

The research team hopes the study's findings will convince other doctors treating patients with base of tongue cancers that primary surgery followed by radiation gives them the best chance at swallowing after their treatment.

Bev Betkowski | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ualberta.ca

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht World first: Massive thrombosis removed during early pregnancy
20.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

nachricht Therapy of preterm birth in sight?
19.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>