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jaw replacement: bone alternatives

Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2012

Hi There,
My father was diagnoised with oral cancer 4 1/2 yrs ago and he underwent lower jaw replacement surgery (where a bone from the leg was removed and fitted in lower jaw) followed by radiation theraphy. All his teeth were removed. He then had a few plastic surgeries in an attempt to get dentures. That failed, and it caused the bone to rot and caused a lot of infection. Last week (4 1/2 yrs later) he had to undergo the same surgery where bone from the other leg was removed and they put a flap on the chin as there was a hole due to the infection. Last night, they took him into emergency surgery to undo everything as the flap failed to live and everything was infected. Spoke to docs today and they are unsure what can be done. They might remove a bone from the arm or back or just use soft tissue. He is in a very bad shape. There is a big hole where the chin used to be.

Are there any alternative materials they can use. After the 1st surgery my dad developed pains in his leg and now the other leg maybe affected. What alternatives are there. I cannot see him in such a condition. Please help.

George_Baltimore's picture
Posts: 303
Joined: Jun 2009

I am so very, very sorry for your Dad's predicament. I know what it's like to have a failed bone graft. Fortunately, mine never developed an infection. I didn't have another surgery to try it again. As far as taking another bone from your father, you don't say how old he is but if he if he's around my age (turned 64 two days ago), I personally would refuse it. I am no doctor (maybe Pat will chime in here) but I would think that some tissue grafts and Hyperbaric Oxygen treatments would be in order to restore healthy tissue and a blood supply to the area. I will keep both you and Dad in my prayers.

hwt's picture
Posts: 2330
Joined: Jun 2012

I read an article that said Mayo Clinic in Rochester was using a new technique that did not involve using the fibula when replacing the mandible. Prayers for your Dad.

Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2012

Thanks for your response. My dad is 64 as well and turns 65 in December. At this stage the doctors are not sure of what approach to take. Either do the whole thing again using a bone from another part (arm or back) or use soft tissue. The doc mentioned that as the number of operations increase, the changes of the flap failing increases as well. Last week, for 3 to 4 days, they kept Leeches on the chin to suck the impure blood and revive the flap, that didn't work. They are looking at another surgery end of this month. I will keep this group posted as I get more updates.

Tim6003's picture
Posts: 1508
Joined: Nov 2011

Just wanted to say your circumstances are no where near my experience, thus I can't really give any advice / opinion...but did not want you to think I did not care ...whispered a prayer your father and you find some options and things will improve...



robinleigh's picture
Posts: 297
Joined: Mar 2011

My husband has osteoradionecrosis as well and he is considering the hyperbaric oxygen treatments. They are painless and a good chance to take a nap! Hope they are available in your area because you have to have them daily for up to 30 days.

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