Surgical reconstruction of the lingual and hypoglossal nerves in oropharyngeal cancer: anterior oral cavity sensorimotor and quality of life outcomes

  • Author / Creator
    Elfring, Tracy Tamiko
  • This study explores the effects of surgical reconstruction and nerve repair on sensorimotor function and quality of life (QOL) for patients with base of tongue (BOT) cancer compared to healthy, age-matched adults. Sensations were tested on the anterior two-thirds of the oral tongue for two-point discrimination, light touch, taste, temperature, form and texture on 30 patients with BOT reconstruction with radial forearm free-flap and on 30 controls. Results indicated sensation for the unaffected tongue side and affected side with lingual nerve intact was comparable to controls, with poorer sensory outcomes for nerve repair. However, lingual nerves repaired with reanastomosis provided superior results to cable-grafting and severed nerves. Patients had decreased motor function only when the hypoglossal and lingual nerves were affected. Patients' QOL responses on the UW-QOL and EORTC QLQ-H&N35 revealed involvement of lingual and hypoglossal nerves resulted in poorer QOL outcomes. QOL interviews revealed additional problematic issues in this population not identified by standardized questionnaires.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2010
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.