IU Health University Hospital

WATCH: Ultra-rare Jaw and Tongue Reconstruction Surgery

Highly Skilled

May 06, 2019

Dr. Taha Shipchandler along with Dr. Daniel Wurtz and their surgical team recently performed a groundbreaking cancer resection and reconstruction procedure at IU Health University Hospital. The patient was diagnosed with large squamous cell carcinoma of the anterior tongue and had an innovative procedure using his femur bone and thigh tissue to reconstruct his jaw and tongue.

Hear from Shipchandler about this rare procedure:

Q: What makes this procedure so rare?

“What makes this surgery unique is that we were able to combine a boney reconstruction of the jaw, with a large soft tissue reconstruction of the jaw, all in one surgery in one harvest of what’s called a free-tissue transfer from another part of the body. We were also able to do the harvest of this while the resecting team, which was removing the cancer, was doing their part. This was all done simultaneously.”

Q: Why was the surgery done?

“One of our reasons for doing this surgery is we wanted to see how reasonable it is to do this surgery in the future. Is this going to change the algorithm and process in which we treat future patients? My prediction is that the procedure becomes more and more prevalent as far as the number of times we do it and the amount of times other centers do it. . . . Though we are very happy and encouraged by our first result, we certainly want to take a moment to pause and analyze our data, analyze the situations and candidates, and make our judgments appropriate for who the surgery will be right for in the future.”

Closing thoughts:

“I’m really humbled to be a part of a great team that was able to perform this surgery. Myself, Dr. Avinash Mantravadi, Dr. Dan Wurtz, Dr. Michael Moore, who aided us in the resection and removal of this cancer, with us as a team together it really was a great chemistry we had in the operating room. Putting so many surgeons together, working together so well to do this new procedure, I think is what advancing medicine is all about.”

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