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jaw bone replacement surgery

whr0714
Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2004

I had tonsil cancer in February of 2002 and as a result doctors removed my tonsils. Then, although my cancer was, as the doctors put it 99% gone, was advised to have chemo and radiation as a precaution. The radiation, a six week, daily treatment has damaged my jaw bone resulting in excessive bone loss and removal of 3 teeth on the lower left jaw bone. Now, I am in constant pain and can no longer open my mouth more than a half inch or so. The pain is chronic and take morphine daily. The only thing left to do is have my jaw bone replaced by using the small bone in my leg. I am only 54 years old and feel I could handle any operation well enough (but who wants to). My questions and concerns are many, but I mainly would like to know if any one has had this proceedure and could offer any advice or alternative solutions. I will have to do something soon because the pain and the drug use has gone far enough, I would be fine living with the condition if I could just stop the pain.

Larryowens
Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2012

Thanks for the replies. I read about HBO treatments. My surgeon said this was a standard for a long time but he is planning to put me on meds which will help the healing process.
My pre op is next wednesday and I will know more then.

I do realize everyone is different...I have been blessed this far and I try to stay on top of it.
Larry

Larryowens
Posts: 4
Joined: Apr 2012

Well a week after I am amazed how well it went. one tooth and partial bone removal has left me ready to work and eat the next day. thanks for the support, I wish everyone the same blessings that I have had...Larry

longtermsurvivor's picture
longtermsurvivor
Posts: 1845
Joined: Mar 2010

tel us exactly what the did. You sound good enough it makes one think you didnt end up with the radical surgery. Did you get a trach and ng tube? Did they relocate fibula to jaw? Tell us the good news.

Pat

George_Baltimore's picture
George_Baltimore
Posts: 303
Joined: Jun 2009

I don't think you had jawbone "removal", Larry. Perhaps it was debridement. I'm not familiar with debridement but I am DEFINATELY familiar with replacement. After replacement you are in ICU for a couple days afterward and then moved to an ENT floor for another 4 or 5 days. After a little physical therapy, you are able to walk around with one of your leg bones removed. You wouldn't be able to work the next day. I believe with debridement, they shave off a little of the dead piece of bone.

Mikemetz's picture
Mikemetz
Posts: 362
Joined: Nov 2011

George,

How long did the docs take to let your debridement heal before they decided the jaw replacement was necessary? I had my debridement about a month ago, and followed that with 10 more HBOs. My pain level in that area has improved since the debridement, but I still have exposed bone in one extracted tooth socket and no sign of new tissue there.

(I just re-read your post and saw that you did not have a debridement--so please ignore my question--sorry)

Mike

Viilik70's picture
Viilik70
Posts: 65
Joined: May 2012

I had part of my lower jaw taken out from being treated with radiation twice and before my surgery I was on morphine 10cc I think and 75mcg fentanol (how ever it's spelled) patch and they moved part of my chest muscle into my neck for better blood flow to this area and since my surgery I'm off all pain meds! Praise God! My lower jaw doesn't line up with my upper jaw because they didn't want to put the bone in from my leg yet, so it's hard to eat. I don't regret it because being off the pain meds are great, but you need to take your time and ween yourself off of them. God bless and good luck!!

longtermsurvivor's picture
longtermsurvivor
Posts: 1845
Joined: Mar 2010

Come on back here! You and only a few others of us around here have been radiated twice. For that reason alone, your input is valuable. Tell us your story please. What was your diagnosis, treatment, retreatment? When did the problem surface and what all has been done? The questions are limitless. Fill out your bio also, then guys like me wont ask so many dumb questions. Thanks. Welcome to the board.

Pat

crispee1974
Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2013

she has had head and neck cancer for 4 years now, they said it started from her tonsils. she had a lump at the base of her neck but left alone saying it was a calcium deposit. long story short, she caughed up blood one day and the next day was told she has stage 4 cancer. she had chemo and radiation and it was gone, then a few months later came back to her jaw. had more chemo and radiation and because of the damage it did to her check, all the scar tissue, she also cannot open her mouth and has been on a feeding tube for 3 years, has not eaten anything solid. she is now in the hospital again because of another absess. last year she was in and had 3 teeth removed. now they want to remove the absess and take out part of her jaw, put bone from her leg in and tissue from her thigh. the dr doing it will be dr hallock (bethlehem pa) they said she probably will only be able to open her mouth a little bit more. a little bit more is better then what she has now.

i know the recovery is probably at least 6 months. i was told heavy physical therapy. did you have the surgery? how long after til you were able to chew again?

Wendi77
Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2013

Hi.

My boyfriend's best friend's Dad is having is lower jaw removed and replaced with a piece of bone from his leg.  He is having all his teeth removed.  I have been reading the succuss stories on here and it is really encouraging.  He is facing a very big operation and all concerned are extremely worried.  He is however having something else done as part of the procedure which nobody seems to have mentioned on here and I just wondered whether anyone had come across it.  He is having the veins in his arms/neck stretched and attached to the new jaw bone as part of the procedure.  As these veins will then become so very tight, it is unlikely that he will be able to raise his arms fully.  I think this worries him greatly and he wonders what quality of life he will have post op.  Has anyone had this part of the procedure or come across it at all.  Thanking you in advance.

hwt's picture
hwt
Posts: 2086
Joined: Jun 2012

I had my mandible replaced (19 hour surgery) 01/2012. I did not have the veins in my arm neck stretched, atleast not that I know of. I could not raise my arm to wash my hair but after a few exercises and a couple of physical therapy sessions, I could raise my arm across my head and touch the opposite ear just as I had prior to surgery. Maybe a month out of surgery I could raise my arm normally. 

George_Baltimore's picture
George_Baltimore
Posts: 303
Joined: Jun 2009

The docs may have used the word stretched but I don't think they meant it quite the way you are envisioning it. In my case, they did a "pectoral flap" to provide a blood supply for the bone they took from the leg. They took part of the muscle and blood supply and moved it up to the jaw area. It has affected the use of my left arm to the point of not being able to bring it fully upward and across my head making it more difficult to comb what little hair I have left. It is still that way a year and a half later but it's not life shattering.

In my case, the operation didn't work and the bone and titanium plate had to be removed. I think there are more people on this forum though where the operation did work.

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