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Head and Neck Surgery and Reconstruction

Head and neck surgeons provide surgical treatments for thyroid and salivary gland disorders, traumatic head injuries, and head and neck cancer. Loyola University Health System has been a leader in using minimally invasive surgical techniques to treat these disorders. Loyola’s surgeons have been successful in removing even advanced tumors with endoscopic surgery, by inserting a camera and instruments through small incisions. Patients recover more quickly, and suffer fewer complications and experience less scarring.

Patients with head and neck cancer are seen in a multidisciplinary clinic in Loyola’s Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center. The clinic treats approximately 300 new patients and logs more than 3,000 patient visits each year. Since cancers of the head and neck can progress to advanced stages with only vague, mild symptoms, it is important for patients to get answers as efficiently as possible. At the Head and Neck Oncology Clinic, patients see several specialists at one location in a single visit. The specialists are actively engaged in cancer research, so patients often have the opportunity to participate in clinical trials for head and neck cancer.

Surgery on the head and neck to remove cancer or other lesions can affect a patient’s appearance and function, such as facial movement. In these cases, reconstructive surgery is an important part of the treatment plan to regain a natural appearance and improve quality of life. Otolaryngologists perform reconstructive surgery and also collaborate with other surgical specialties to provide the best results possible for each patient. For example, through the Cranial Base Surgery Center, physicians have developed a highly sophisticated technique to help patients who have lost facial nerves during cancer treatment regain facial movement. By using separate nerve grafts for the upper and lower face, they can restore a patient’s natural facial expressions.