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Post from Crispee1974 - Jaw Replacement for Mom

Pam M's picture
Pam M
Posts: 2196
Joined: Nov 2009
I'm reprinting a post from today from Crispee1974, so it doesn't get lost in the shuffle (it started as a reply to an old post):


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?

hwt's picture
Posts: 2330
Joined: Jun 2012

My cancer was of the lower jaw. I had my jaw replaced with titanium and my fibula last January followed by  radiation and chemo which I finished last May. My surgery was 19 hours. My leg had to be dressed daily and I needed a walker then a cane for several months. I've heard Mayo in Rochester now does it without using the fibula. Worth inquiring about. The leg was healed up by May. The graph from my thigh healed quickly, painful a couple of days.  I have always been able to open my mouth to eat but not able to open it as far as I used to. Doubtful that I will ever be able to pick up a sandwich like I used to but thankful I can still eat one by cutting it up with a knife and fork. I think the radiation and chemo was harder on me than the surgery and recovery from surgery. Best wishes to your Mom.  

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