Head and Neck Reconstructive Surgery

What is head and neck reconstruction surgery?

Head and neck reconstruction surgery is used to treat defects in the skull, face, jaws, neck and ears, either for functional or cosmetic reasons. It is also performed when wounds do not heal as expected or when defects exist.

Head and neck reconstruction surgery may also be recommended if a treatment or the removal of malignant or benign tumours has affected your:

  • Mouth and oral cavity
  • Salivary glands
  • Tongue
  • Larynx or pharynx
  • Jaw
  • Sinuses

Types of head and neck reconstructive surgeries

There are a number of advanced head and neck reconstruction surgeries. Some of the most commonly performed procedures are:

Microvascular reconstructions or free flap surgery

This special technique entails moving tissue from different parts of the body to the site to be reconstructed. Circulation to the transferred tissue is then restored by reconnecting the blood vessels using a microscope. The procedure is helpful in correcting defects in the face, head, and neck.

Flap surgery

In flap surgery, tissue and blood vessels are transplanted from one part of your body to the damaged part of the head or neck. The flaps that are used may be local or regional. A local flap is made from the skin around the defect or incision.

Skin grafting

With this technique, a healthy skin patch is transplanted from another part of your body, generally an area with extra skin tissue. The transplanted tissue is used to cover a major wound or a section of skin that is missing or damaged.

Other techniques also used in head and neck reconstruction surgery include:

  • Local flap reconstruction

  • Skull base surgery

  • Reanimation of the paralysed face

  • Reconstruction of the jaw and facial bones

  • Reconstruction of the nose, mouth, and ears

  • Tissue replacement

Why do you need head and neck reconstruction surgery?

You may need a head and neck reconstruction surgery after tumour removal, trauma, birth defects, or for cosmetic purposes. The purpose of such procedures is to restore or improve the area's appearance and function.

Who should not undergo head and neck reconstruction surgery?

Head and reconstruction surgery is not recommended in the following conditions:

  • If you cannot undergo a prolonged operative procedure due to medical conditions
  • If you have risk factors for clotting tendency, or severe medical conditions

What are the risks and complications of head and neck reconstruction surgery?

Depending on the type of surgery, risks may include:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Need for secondary surgeries
  • Failure of the flap due to poor circulation
  • Poor wound healing

Why choose Mount Elizabeth Hospitals?

Mount Elizabeth uses a multidisciplinary approach to facial plastic and reconstructive surgery for patients who have scars or disfigurement from head and neck cancers, trauma or congenital disorders. Our doctors in Singapore will work closely with each patient to provide the most appropriate treatment plan for the best possible outcome.

Our specialists

At Mount Elizabeth Hospitals, we have an experienced team of plastic surgeons, ENT specialists and general surgeons specialising in reconstructive surgery of the head and neck. Our team will work closely to support you during every step of your journey to recovery and better health.

This page has been reviewed by our medical content reviewers.

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