Quality of life after oral and oropharyngeal reconstruction with a radial forearm free flap: prospective study.
ABSTRACT To evaluate quality of life (QOL) after radial forearm free flap (RFFF) reconstruction of the oral cavity and oropharynx in head and neck cancer patients.
Academic, tertiary referral centre.
Between January 2004 and May 2005, 47 patients underwent immediate RFFF reconstruction of the oral cavity and oropharynx following ablative surgery for a previously untreated head and neck cancer and were initially included in this study. The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Core Quality of Life Questionnaire and the EORTC Head and Neck Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire were completed before surgery and at 6 and 12 months thereafter.
QOL scores obtained at the three assessment dates. Predictive factors of QOL scores at 6 months researched among the following: age, gender, comorbidity, radiotherapy, tumour stage, and tumour site.
Global QOL remained stable over time. Social and role functioning scores deteriorated significantly after treatment. Social eating and speech difficulties, trismus, and salivary problems increased significantly in the postoperative period and were among the main complaints of our patients.
Despite some functional impairment, global QOL was preserved after RFFF reconstruction following extensive ablative surgery in patients with oral and oropharyngeal cancer.