Cancer Reconstruction

Helping you put your best face forward after cancer

Cancer reconstruction for the face involves repairing damage caused by skin cancer and other cancers, as well as any previous surgeries to remove those cancers. Reconstruction can include the face, ears, nose, mouth, tongue, throat and all other facial tissue.

Overview

Cancer reconstruction for the face involves repairing damage caused by skin cancer and other cancers, as well as any previous surgeries to remove those cancers. Reconstruction can include the face, ears, nose, mouth, tongue, throat and all other facial tissue.

Cancerous tumors of the head and neck, including skin cancer, can affect your appearance, as well as the ability to eat, breathe and speak normally. Reconstructive surgery can help restore your normal function.

Who Needs Cancer Reconstruction?

Any cancer involving the head and neck may be cause for surgical removal of the tumor and result in the need for reconstruction. This includes skin cancer and tumors that affect the ears, nose, mouth, tongue, throat and all other facial tissue.

What to Expect from Reconstruction Treatment

The surgeons at IU Health have extensive experience treating skin cancer and all other cancers of the head and neck. Nationally recognized in the field, they offer advanced techniques to reconstruct facial features and restore skin on your neck and head after cancer.

Your surgeon can help with a variety of reconstruction needs, from a small cancer on the face that leaves a defect requiring plastic surgery, to a larger cancer that requires rebuilding the jaw using part of the fibula, to reconstructing the tongue using tissue from the thigh. We offer every type of reconstructive technique available, including microsurgery and microvascular free flap reconstruction.

Your surgeon will give you specific instructions to follow before your procedure. Be sure to tell your surgeon about any medications you take on a regular basis.

Preparing for Reconstructive Surgery

Your surgeon will give you specific instructions to follow before your procedure. Be sure to tell your surgeon about any medications you take on a regular basis.

After Reconstructive Surgery

Your recovery time will depend on your specific surgical treatment. Your surgeon will give you details on what to expect and how to care for your post-surgical wounds while they heal. You will need to see your surgeon for follow up appointments to check on the healing process. In some cases, you may need speech therapy or physical therapy after reconstructive surgery.

If you’ve had cancer of the head or neck and need reconstructive surgery, you will have many questions. Make a list of questions you want to ask your surgeon ahead of your pre-surgery appointment, including:

  • What will happen during my specific surgery?
  • What type of anesthesia will you use?
  • Is my procedure outpatient or will I need to stay in the hospital?
  • How long will my procedure last?
  • How long will my recovery time last? What will the results of my surgery be? How successful have past surgeries of this type been?

Questions To Ask Your Provider

If you’ve had cancer of the head or neck and need reconstructive surgery, you will have many questions. Make a list of questions you want to ask your surgeon ahead of your pre-surgery appointment, including:

  • What will happen during my specific surgery?
  • What type of anesthesia will you use?
  • Is my procedure outpatient or will I need to stay in the hospital?
  • How long will my procedure last?
  • How long will my recovery time last? What will the results of my surgery be? How successful have past surgeries of this type been?

Patient Stories for Cancer Reconstruction