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Post Surgery, Questions on Reconstruction #198435
05-30-2019 07:59 AM
05-30-2019 07:59 AM
Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 3
Georgia - Metro Atlanta area
TammyD Offline OP
TammyD  Offline OP

Joined: Jan 2019
Posts: 3
Georgia - Metro Atlanta area
Hi everyone,

I was diagnosed with SCC on the gum tissue near my lower pre-molar on 12/14/18. I had surgery on 4/15/19 to remove a sizable chunk of my jawbone, 5 teeth and hundreds of lymph nodes. Of the 54 lymph nodes tested, all were negative. The tumor was 1.9 cm and isolated to the initial pre-molar area.

My recovery has gone very well considering all that was involved. I had a feeding tube in my nose for 10 days. Without my 5 teeth, I have some trouble pronouncing words and will start speech therapy on June 3. I have had some weakness in my left shoulder (same side as my surgery and possibly related to the neck dissection) and am getting physical therapy for that.

I am able to eat pretty much any food that I want. I am not able to open my mouth as wide as before, due to some scar tissue and have to cut food up into smaller bites, but that is not a problem.

I am going to be seeing a reconstructive surgeon and two prosthodontists in June to determine next steps in my recovery.

One option is to have a bone removed from my leg to create me a new jaw bone. My current jaw bone is too thin to support the dental implant process to restore my 5 teeth.

I understand that there could be some risk of weakening of my jaw bone over time without teeth to provide structure in my mouth and I could develop bite problems.

My thoughts:
-Since I can eat fine now on the right side of my mouth, would I be okay living this way for possibly another 30-40 years? If not for the potential weakening of my jaw bone and bite problems, possibly so.
-How painful is the process to remove the bone from my leg, insert into my mouth and endure another recovery process. The process so far hasn't been terribly painful. Of course, I wouldn't wish it on anyone and I wish I hadn't had to go through it, but truly, the pain was not unbearable, having a feeding tube for 10 days was not unbearable. But, an 11th day was getting close to being unbearable. I'm truly grateful I didn't have to have it long term.
-Will a feeding tube be necessary for the reconstructive surgery?

I know only I can determine the right answer, along with my doctors and family. But, I would like to hear from others who have been through a similar reconstructive surgery.

Thanks so much!

12/14/18 SCC Lower L gum near L Molar
12/26/18 PET/CT scans showed no spreading
4/15/19 surgery to remove a large piece of lower left jawbone with 5 teeth attached, 54 lymph nodes tested were negative, stage 1 SCC had not spread beyond initial site, Feeding tube through nose for 10 days
May/June 2019 - starting to investigate reconstructive options - create a new jawbone that will support dental implants is an option
Re: Post Surgery, Questions on Reconstruction [Re: TammyD] #198441
05-31-2019 08:34 PM
05-31-2019 08:34 PM
Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 275
ConnieT Offline
Gold Member (200+ posts)
ConnieT  Offline
Gold Member (200+ posts)

Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 275
I was a former faculty member in orthodontics at a dental school so i have some dental background. when they do an implant, they either can use healed bone after an extraction or sometimes they use bone from an animal...implants were new when I left dentistry so I only know a little about them. But it takes bone a couple of months to regenerate and grow back (that's true even when moving teeth in orthodontics). How much bone was removed?

Glad to see you are going to a prosthodontist for treatment options. I'm not sure how much bone was removed. I'm going to guess too much for them to feel your jawbone is stable. Keep us posted.

Spouse of 57 yr old with BOT cancer
Stage 4a HPV16 positive
3 chemo treatments cisplantin
35 radiation treatments 7000 cGy
former smoker/chewed tobacco for 38 yrs.

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