Roswell Park offers a full range of medical and supportive services for patients with head and neck cancer. Everything is available in one location, providing greater convenience for you as your team members work together on the plan for your treatment, recovery and survivorship.
Maxillofacial Prosthetics: Restoring Function & Appearance
The field of maxillofacial prosthetics focuses on patients with head and neck cancers who may need prostheses — artificial replacements for areas that were damaged by the tumor or that had to be removed during surgery. These may be necessary to help you regain specific functions, or to help restore your appearance.
For example, the maxilla, or upper jawbone (which includes the hard palate, or roof of the mouth) is necessary for chewing, swallowing and speaking. If large areas of the maxilla have to be removed in order to treat the cancer, afterward you’ll need an obturator prosthesis — a removable piece rather like a denture — to fill in for those areas.
The prosthesis will be custom-made and custom-fitted for you by a multidisciplinary team that includes a maxillofacial prosthodontist — someone who completed dental school plus an additional three years of specialized training.
Speech/Language Pathology (Assistance with Communication & Swallowing)
Head and neck cancers — or their treatment — may result in difficulty communicating or swallowing. Our Speech/Language Pathology team diagnoses and treats these problems. Videofluoroscopic Swallowing Studies (VFSS) and laryngeal endoscopy are two of the procedures they use to evaluate your ability to eat safely.
The team also provides pre-surgery and pre-radiation counseling to help you prepare for treatment and recovery.