Head & Neck Cancer Surgery
Thyroid gland surgery is a part of head and neck surgery, being the basic training subject of otolaryngology discipline. In cancers in thyroid gland, thyroid gland is entirely removed, and the patient is required to take a lifelong thyroid hormone pill.
In cancers of pharynx at the entrance of esophagus, early diagnosis gives satisfactory results. Everyone who feel an affixing during swallowing must undergo an endoscopic examination.
In intraoral cancers of tongue, tonsils, soft or hard palate, surgical treatment methods applied at an early stage give successful results.
Salivary Gland Cancers
There are large salivary glands in submandibular and in parotid (in front of ear at the cheek). As facial nerve passes through parotid, transient or permanent facial paralysis is a probability in surgery of this salivary gland. Facial palsy is a low probability if the surgery is performed by qualified surgeons, but nevertheless it is an important factor required to be taken into consideration in salivary gland cancer surgery.
Throat (larynx) cancer
Throat (larynx) is the second door of air fed into livers, after mouth and nose, where voice is produced. Therefore, it is the first point of contact before livers for the irritant and harmful substances existing in the inhaled air. The most important reason of throat (larynx) cancer is smoking. If accompanied by alcohol intake, genetic factors, air pollution and diseases such as reflux, the risk is even more.
The most common symptom of larynx cancer is persistent hoarseness. In the case of hoarseness continuing for more than 10 to 15 days, absolutely an otolaryngologist must examine the patient.
Larynx cancer is a type of cancer which can be definitely treated especially if diagnosed at its early stage. First stage tumors held on vocal cord may be entirely cured through radiotherapy or a simple oral intervention. At mid-stages, a partial larynx operation where a transient hole (stoma) is opened in throat may be performed. At more advanced stages, larynx may be required to be entirely removed and a permanent bronchus hole may be required to be opened in throat, and even in these cases, both results and life expectancy are satisfactory. For neck lymph nodes, neck lymph node operations and radiotherapy may be applied. In laryngectomy where entire larynx is removed, the patient may speak through esophagus, or an instrument placed inside, or an external instrument.
What is neck dissection and why is it performed?
There are membranes in neck which hold and cover muscles, vessels and such organs as esophagus, pharynx and thyroid gland. There are lymph vessels and lymphatic glands in cavities under and above these membranes. Lymphatic glands fight against foreign cells and microbes in the body. There is also a network of lymph vessels from all external and internal organs at head and neck to these lymphatic glands. Therefore, even a pustule on face or tonsillitis may lead to inflammation in lymphatic glands, and tumor cells in this zone go to these lymphatic glands, and if they win the war, they may create a carcinogenic tissue, thereby causing enlargement of lymphatic glands..
In the case of metastasis of tumors in head and neck zone to lymphatic glands in neck, the operation performed to clean these lymphatic glands and lymph canals is called “neck dissection”.