Navigation Links
Unique U-M Surgery Creates Fully Usable Tongue Following Tongue Cancer
Date:12/15/2008

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Dec. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The night before her surgery for tongue cancer, 30-year-old Lisa Bourdon-Krause realized she might never be able to speak to her toddler son again. So she sat up half the night recording messages to him: "Hi, how was your day?," "You're so handsome," "You have a stinky butt. I need to change you." She read two of his favorite books.

"It took me about three times to get through the one story, but I did it and I'm glad I did it. It made me feel safer going into surgery knowing that if something happened to me or if I couldn't speak when I woke up, he would be able to hear my voice and know how much I loved him," Bourdon-Krause says.

The surgery was to remove a cancerous tumor growing near the back of her tongue. Surgeons would remove half of her tongue, an operation that would dramatically affect basic functions such as speech and swallowing.

But by using innovative techniques in oral reconstruction, surgeons at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center were able to reconstruct a tongue using skin from Bourdon-Krause's own forearm.

Today -- eight years after that surgery -- she remains cancer free. But just as importantly, she remains able to swallow, eat and speak to her son.

"Tongue reconstruction in the past would have limited a patient to a soft diet -- mostly liquids, some soft solids. At present with the tongue reconstructions that we're performing, patients are able to take a nearly full diet," says Douglas Chepeha, M.D., M.S.P.H., director of microvascular reconstructive surgery and associate professor of otolaryngology at the U-M Medical School.

Chepeha and his team have developed many of the techniques used in tongue reconstruction, including innovative patterns, much like a dress pattern, that help the surgeons determine the size and shape of the skin tissue they'll cut for transplanting. The tissue is taken from another part of the patient's body, often the forearm, so there is not a risk of rejection.

The surgery, which includes removing a portion of the tongue and reconstructing the new tongue, is long and complex, lasting about 10 hours. It requires surgeons to dissect and reattach the blood vessels, just like with a typical organ transplant. The blood vessels are sewn together with tiny sutures, some smaller than a single strand of hair. When patients wake up, their reconstructed tongue is in place.

"In the past, patients who have undergone tongue reconstruction would be very concerned about social interaction. With the type of reconstructions we're performing now, our patients tell us that they're willing to go into a restaurant and order a meal. They have no hesitation whatsoever in asking strangers for directions. They are also able to maintain their employment status and their interactions with friends and family," Chepeha says.

For Bourdin-Krause, the surgery has allowed her to continue working, raising her son and enjoying time with family and friends.

"Now, eight years later, I feel like it's just my normal tongue. I'm used to it. Within a couple weeks, really, I was back to what I considered as normal as I was going to be," she says. "I try very hard not to take anything for granted, because having it almost taken away makes you realize just how special every minute is."

Tongue cancer statistics: 10,140 Americans will be diagnosed with tongue cancer this year and 1,880 will die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society

Early detection:

The most common causes of oral cancer are smoking and alcohol consumption, and the risk increases for people who do both. As with most cancers, the earlier a tongue cancer lesion is found, the easier it is to treat. Here are some early signs that could signal tongue cancer:

    -- Small lump or thick white patch
    -- Ulcer with firm, raised rim and delicate center that bleeds easily
    -- Lesion that doesn't heal

"Most mouth lesions will heal within a two-week period. You wouldn't want to be alarmed with a minor canker sore. We're talking about a lesion that's in your mouth, that's been there a couple weeks. It has some firmness to it when you feel it. You can tell there's some thickness to it and it's not healing," Chepeha says.

Resources:

U-M Cancer AnswerLine, 800-865-1125

U-M Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer Clinic www.cancer.med.umich.edu/cancertreat/headandneck/the_clinic.shtml

    National Cancer Institute: Oral Cancer
www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/oral/

Support for People with Oral and Head and Neck Cancer http://spohnc.org/


'/>"/>
SOURCE University of Michigan Health System
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Experiences of rape unique to Rwandan women survivors of genocide
2. SpectraScience Awarded U.S. Patent 7,459,696 for its Unique Methods of Calibrating Spectral Data
3. OneMedPlace announces panels for "OneMedForum 2009: Disrupters and Drivers in Eight Areas of Medical Technology" -- CEOs and investors to meet in unique format of focused sessions
4. Unique Scholarship Helps People Affected by Epilepsy Fulfill Life Ambitions
5. VisiVite.com Files for Patent on Unique Macular Degeneration Supplement
6. Unique Bone Marrow Transplant Said to Cure Sickle Cell
7. Unique Holiday Gift for Animal Lovers: A Donation to Fund Animal Health Research; Pick a Favorite Animal - Dog, Cat, Horse, All Species of Wildlife
8. Former NBA and Boston Celtic Star Dee Brown Joins PrimeTime Sports, Boca Ratons Unique Sports Training Facility
9. New Stop Smoking Aid Offers Unique Teeth Whitening Benefit
10. Wolters Kluwer Healths Unique Prescription Data Tapped by FDA in Effort to Advance Drug Safety
11. The Maurer Foundation Promotes Breast Health Message With Unique Traveling Pink Bus
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/22/2017)... ... February 22, 2017 , ... Becker’s Spine Review, ... is featuring Michigan neurosurgeon Jay Jagannathan, M.D., as a “Spine Surgeon to Know.” ... of neurosurgeons in Michigan performing minimally invasive back surgery that often results in ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... ... February 22, 2017 , ... Forty-five percent of American ... that family members or friends have also commented about their poor hearing. However, ... hearing aids. One reason, suggested by 89 percent of American respondents, is that ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... NY (PRWEB) , ... February 22, 2017 , ... Social ... — especially for hospitals and health systems. Smith & Jones’ delves into this insight ... this episode, President of Smith & Jones David Vener meets up with social media ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... Kentucky (PRWEB) , ... February 22, 2017 , ... ... Journal of Patient Safety, patient advocates stress that the patient context (age, illness ... not used as reasons to mitigate their occurrence. In addition, all ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... Australia (PRWEB) , ... February 22, 2017 , ... Author ... it is valuable for every household and family to know all about it for ... publishing world with the release of “ Detox, Digestive and Wellness Solutions ” (published ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/22/2017)... PALM BEACH, Florida , February 22, 2017 ... & Cannabis Industries is becoming more and more ... development Of Cannabinoids & THC Extracts as well ... innovative approach to medicinal cannabis and marijuana therapies ... by acquiring new relationships and assets designed to ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... HAMBURG, Germany , February 22, 2017 ... Hamburg, Germany and The Indian Institute of ... a collaboration to support the first Indian national cancer data base ... ... with an initial three-year term. The collaboration will include collection of ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... 21, 2017 Mass Spectrometer Market: Overview ... This report on mass spectrometer ... prospects of the market globally. The stakeholders of ... the manufacture and commercialization of various mass spectrometer ... planning to enter this market. This report comprises ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: