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Head and Neck Tumors (Tumor Removal and Reconstruction) - Houston, TX

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What Is Head and Neck Surgery?

A cancer diagnosis can be both terrifying and overwhelming with all the information and options you will be given. You will begin to assemble your cancer care team, including your Primary Care Physician and an Oncology (cancer) Specialist. While removing and healing the cancer is the first priority, an important part of healing is restoring your appearance. Double board-certified plastic and reconstructive facial surgeon, Dr. Eugene "Gene" Alford performs reconstructive surgery for patients with head and neck cancers (tumors) at Alford Facial Plastic Surgery in Houston, TX including:

  • Hypopharyngeal cancer
  • Laryngeal cancer
  • Nasal cavity cancer
  • Nasopharyngeal cancer
  • Oral cancer
  • Oropharyngeal cancer
  • Paranasal sinus cancer
  • Parathyroid cancer
  • Salivary gland tumors
  • Thyroid cancer

Surgical Info

Head and neck reconstruction surgery may take anywhere from 2 – 8 hours, depending on the size of the tumor and complexity of your case. Dr. Gene will work with your oncology team to first treat and remove the tumor, then carefully reconstruct the healthy tissue to restore your appearance. Dr. Gene will develop a treatment plan based on your case and goals, which may include skin grafts, bone grafts, facial implants, or skin flaps. During your consultation, Dr. Gene will communicate with you and your team to decide the best options and techniques for your reconstructive surgery.

Recovery

In most cases you stay one night in the hospital, then Dr. Gene will see you the next day and ensure you are ready to be discharged home. Pain is not severe in the vast majority of patients after head and neck reconstruction surgery with most people requiring pain medication only during the first week. You are able to eat whatever you want (most patients prefer a soft foods or a liquid diet), but you should avoid exercise or heavy lifting the first 1 – 2 weeks after surgery. Every operation, no matter how minor, is accompanied by swelling of the surrounding tissues, but it always seems more dramatic in the face. The swelling is usually greatest on the second or third day after your operation, so Dr. Gene suggests that you keep your head elevated as much as possible. The swelling itself is normal and is not an indication that something is wrong with the healing phase of your operation. Your face and neck will remain swollen with varying amounts of discoloration for several days. The most important thing to remember is that such swelling always subsides. Ordinarily, all sutures are removed within 2 weeks from the day of your surgery. During the interim, do not disturb sutures yourself to avoid obvious scarring.

Results

During every reconstructive surgery, Dr. Gene’s goals include preserving or restoring function in the treated areas, plus helping you look as much like your pre-surgery self (minus the tumor) as possible. Using advanced techniques and his vast experience, Dr. Gene understands the delicate tissue of the head and neck, including the nerves, muscle, skin, soft tissue, and blood supply, which helps him to give you your best results and appearance. It may take up to a year to see your final results, but you should see improvement immediately after surgery and throughout your recovery period.

What does Head Surgery Cost?

Your cost for head and neck cancer removal and reconstruction will be determined based on the stage of your cancer, the size of the tumor, the area being treated, the complexity of your case, and your insurance coverage. Our office will contact your health insurance company to ensure your maximum coverage and then Dr. Gene will discuss your out-of-pocket payment amount and options.

Plan Your Procedure

Recovery Time  
1 - 3 Weeks
Average Procedure Time  
2 - 8 Hours
Post-op Follow-up  
1 Day
Procedure Recovery Location  
Overnight Stay in Hospital
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Head/Neck Reconstruction FAQs

Conditions Treated?

  • Anaplastic thyroid cancer
  • Benign tumors
  • Cancerous tumors
  • Follicular thyroid cancer
  • Head cancer
  • Hypopharyngeal cancer
  • Laryngeal cancer
  • Medullary thyroid cancer
  • Nasal cavity cancer
  • Nasopharyngeal cancer
  • Neck cancer
  • Oral cancer
  • Oropharyngeal cancer
  • Papillary thyroid cancer
  • Paranasal sinus cancer
  • Parathyroid cancer
  • Salivary gland tumors
  • Sarcoma of the head and neck
  • Skin cancer of the head and neck

Good Candidates?

Please schedule a consultation with Dr. Gene or your Primary Care Physician if you have an unusual lump, growth, or mass anywhere on your head or neck. Whether the mass is a cancerous, benign, or unknown tumor, it is typically best to have it removed. Dr. Gene can work with your cancer treatment team to ensure you get the best treatment for your concerns and your reconstructive work after excision will give you your best, most normal appearance.

Incisions and Scars?

During head and neck reconstructive surgery, Dr. Gene will place his incisions carefully in areas that will be easiest to conceal, such as in the hairline or in a natural fold of the skin. You will be given specific scar management rules and tips to help your surgical incisions heal as fast and cleanly as possible. It may take up to 1 year for scars to fully heal, but with proper care, your scars should be flat, smooth, and blend easily with your normal skin.

Combining Surgeries?

In some cases, reconstruction after head and neck cancer can be combined with another reconstructive surgery, like facial reconstruction surgery, facial paralysis surgery, MOHS reconstruction surgery, orbital decompression surgery. Patients may also consider a scar revision or cosmetic surgery after their scars have fully healed if they want further improvement in their appearance.

Related Procedures

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.