Research Article| Volume 50, ISSUE 7, P597-600, October 2012

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Complications following interventional laser surgery for oral cancer and precancerous lesions

Published:February 03, 2012DOI:


      Interventional carbon dioxide laser surgery is the preferred method to treat oral precancerous lesions and early invasive squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). Little is known, however, about the complications that patients experience after such treatment. We retrospectively reviewed the hospital records of 82 patients with new dysplastic oral lesions or early invasive oral SCCs treated by laser surgery in the maxillofacial unit at Newcastle General Hospital. The most common postoperative complications were pain for more than two weeks after operation (n = 28), bleeding (n = 4), difficulties with speech (n = 5), paraesthesia of the lingual nerve (n = 17), difficulty swallowing (n = 2), obstructive swelling of the submandibular gland (n = 22), and tethering of the tongue (n = 10). Overall, 78% of patients had one or more complication. In the absence of randomised controlled trials, this study provides the best available evidence for complication rates following interventional surgery. In addition to aiding in the preoperative counselling of patients, the data will help to inform and advise patients particularly during the immediate postoperative period.


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