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
Larynx or pharynx
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.
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.
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
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:
Need for secondary surgeries
Failure of the flap due to poor circulation
Poor wound healing
How do you prepare for head and neck reconstruction surgery?
Your doctor will assess your condition and provide a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs. You can discuss the nature of your symptoms with your doctor during the session.
Once a customised plan is created, your doctor will advise you on every step of the operation to ensure your surgery goes smoothly.
What can you expect in head and neck reconstruction surgery?
You will receive general anaesthesia and sleep during the surgery.
Before the procedure
A day before your surgery, you will be admitted to the hospital.
Before the procedure, do not consume anything for at least 8 hours.
During the procedure
Your surgeon will perform the planned surgery.
A team of specialists will be there throughout the procedure.
After the procedure
You will be moved to a recovery room after the surgery. Your recovery time will depend on the complexity of your surgery.
Care and recovery after head and neck reconstruction surgery
Your recovery period will depend on the type of surgery performed. Avoid being too physically active and focus on resting. Generally, it is recommended to take a few weeks or even months off before returning to work or strenuous activities.
If you wear glasses, you may require some alterations to your prescription, if applicable.
Return for all follow-up appointments with your doctor.
Why choose Gleneagles Hospital?
At Gleneagles Hospital in Singapore, we have experienced surgeons specialising in plastic and reconstructive surgery of the head and neck. We are dedicated to providing compassionate, life-changing treatment to patients of all ages to meet goals related to improving body function, outward appearance, and overall health.
Our multidisciplinary team of plastic surgeons, ENT specialists and general surgeons at Gleneagles Hospital will customise a comprehensive treatment plan for your head and neck surgery and provide follow-up care to ensure you receive your desired health outcomes.