In a potentially life altering surgery, tissue from the wrist was used to replace and provide bulk to the surgically removed part of a cancer patient’s tongue at Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital (NSSH) through a procedure known as microvascular free flap transfer.
“The entire left part of the 50-year old lady’s tongue had turned cancerous on account of ignored mouth ulcers and hence had to be removed surgically. This severely undermined her ability to chew and swallow food. The condition was further complicated due to the fact that no tissue in the body bears the characteristics of the tongue. We took tissue from the patient’s wrist, folded it in the shape of the tongue and replaced the left part, ensuring that it had bulk and volume. Blood vessels of the replaced tongue were also connected to the neck, on an artery to artery, vein to vein basis,” stated Dr. Sudeep Sarkar, Sr. Consultant, Surgical Oncology, NSSH.
Though the occurrence of ulcers is a normal phenomenon in healthy individuals, any ulcer which lasts beyond two weeks should be shown to a doctor, cautioned Dr. Sarkar. Tongue ailments are largely symptomatic and if detected and treated in early stages can be cured.