Pioneering operation for Cyprus
A TEAM of Cypriot physicians has performed a surgical procedure involving the removal of an oral cancer tumour with a free-flap reconstruction.
In a free-flap reconstruction, skin, fat and sometimes muscle are transferred from one part of the body to another. “Free” implies that the tissue, along with its blood supply, is detached from the original location (“donor site”) and then transferred to another location (“recipient site”).
The intricate operation, lasting 16 hours in all, was carried out earlier this week at the American Heart Institute by two doctors: Neophytos Demetriades, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, and plastic surgeon Georgios Psaras.
The procedure involved the removal of a female patient’s cancer-infested lower jaw (or mandible) and replacing the excised tissue with skin harvested from her leg.
During surgery, the patient had her entire lower jaw and half her chin removed.
Speaking to the Mail, Dr Demetriades said the surgery was a success; the patient was “doing great” and she is expected to be released from the intensive care unit today.
The doctors are confident she will suffer no speech loss. Reconstruction of the face would be completed at a later date with dental implants.
Demetriades said he believed this is the first time that such a combined surgical procedure has been carried out in Cyprus.
Dating back to the 1980s, free-flap mandibular reconstruction has become the modern standard of care.
Globally, oral cancers account for about 5 per cent of all types of the disease.
Despite the unavailability of hard data, the incidence of oral cancer here is probably higher than the global average, due to the fact that Cypriots are heavy smokers, said Demetriades.
By Elias Hazou Published