A maxillectomy is a procedure that involves the removal of all or part of the maxillary bone, which is the upper jaw, to treat both benign and malignant tumors. Cancers of the oral cavity (mouth), nasal cavity (nose), and maxillary sinuses (hollow spaces found in the bones of the face) can all be treated with a maxillectomy.
The upper jaw, also known as the maxilla.
Types of Maxillectomy Procedures
There are different types of maxillectomy procedures that are performed for the following treatments and conditions:
This procedure removes the section of the maxilla closest to the nose but leaves the eye and hard palate intact.
This procedure involves the removal of the hard palate (which is the roof of the mouth), the lower section of the maxilla, and some teeth. But the orbital floor (the bone beneath the eye) will be preserved.
This treatment involves removing the upper section of the maxilla as well as the orbital floor (the bone beneath the eye). The orbit, which is the bone that surrounds the eye, may be left in place in a few cases. Reconstructive surgery may be required due to the loss of the eye.
This treatment is a combination of the procedures mentioned above, in which a portion of the maxilla is removed, but not the entire maxilla. It is determined by the size and location of the tumor.
On one side of the face, the hard palate, the orbital floor, and the entire maxilla are removed.
How Maxillectomy is Performed?
To remove the tumor, the surgeon will cut through the upper jaw, also known as the maxilla. This treatment involves removing parts of your bone and teeth from the roof of your mouth. As a result, the surgeon must remove the tumor and surround it with healthy tissue.
This treatment will leave a space in the roof of the mouth that must be filled, to make speaking and swallowing easier. A split skin graft can be used to replace soft tissue in the mouth. This operation is a surgical procedure known as a maxillectomy.
Preparation for Maxillectomy
- The patient is advised to avoid eating or drinking after midnight, on the night before the surgery.
- If the patient is taking any other medications or allergic to any medications or foods, the doctor must be informed.
- For at least a week before the surgery, the patient must avoid taking aspirin or aspirin-containing medications, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Aleve), or vitamin E.
- Before surgery, all jewelry, make-up, nail polish, and other cosmetic items must be removed.
Follow Up after Maxillectomy
These are the recovery steps after maxillectomy surgery:
- For at least 2-3 weeks after surgery, avoid tiring activities such as bending, lifting, or stretching.
- Brushing your teeth with a soft toothbrush is a good idea. Once the nasal packing has been removed, saline irrigations can be quite beneficial. A prosthodontist can help you with oral rehabilitation and repair.
- Begin with clear drinks and progress to soft foods, as can be tolerated. Avoid drinking or eating hot drinks or foods.
- Antibiotics should continue to be taken while the wound is healing. Use pain medicine as advised and as needed for pain relief.
- Be in regular contact with your surgeon.
Risks of Maxillectomy
There may be some risks and adverse effects as a result of maxillectomy surgery, including:
You may experience wheezing, rashes, oedema, and low blood pressure, among other conditions.
- Numbness or weakness
You may have numbness or even weakness in the facial, neck, or shoulder region, depending on the tumor.
Due to postoperative swelling, the eyes become watery. But as the swelling decreases, this gradually fades.
There may be a change in the way you see things.
Recovery after Maxillectomy
The length of time it takes to recover from a maxillectomy procedure is determined by the scope of the procedure, and a hospital stay of 1 -2 weeks is common. A feeding tube may be temporarily required in rare circumstances, to supply nutrients during and after the healing process.
Your doctor will discuss food changes, a feeding tube, tracheostomy care, and the necessity for rehabilitative and speech therapy with you. They will also inform you about the drugs you will be taking, including medication to relieve pain, and prevent blood clots, infection, and constipation, including other problems.