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Kerala technique for head and neck surgery published in top medical journal

Kochi: A study containing innovative reconstruction techniques in head and neck surgery developed by a team of Kerala doctors has been published in the leading British medical journal — Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery [JPRAS], popularly known as the British Journal of Plastic Surgery.

The study is authored by a team of surgeons led by Shawn T Joseph, Jose Tharayil, Mihir Mohan, B. S. Naveen and Adharsh Anand of VPS Lakeshore Hospital here and was published in the latest issue of JPRAS.

The study describes a simplified reconstruction technique for various defects of head and neck areas like tongue, palate, jaw, voice box, windpipe and the upper part of the food pipe.

The technique uses tissue supplied by blood vessels of the neck and based on facial artery. This happens to be the largest published series of such cases and some of the techniques described in the series for larynx and jaw tumours provide new solutions to defects involving these areas.

The study mentions that compared to existing micro vascular surgery, the new technique reduces surgical time for selected defects of the head and neck by at least four hours and reduces ICU duration by 2-3 days, thereby bringing down treatment expenses by at least 30 per cent.

The morbidity rate of surgery is less and so patients who have higher risk for long procedures would find the technique particularly useful. Also, the technique being simpler compared to existing reconstruction, can be used even in resource limited centres.

The researchers point out that this study is the largest series of facial artery based islanded myomucosal reconstruction published so far. It is also one of the rare studies in head and neck reconstruction published in JPRAS by doctors from India.

After the initial technique was published by the same group of doctors, many cancer institutes in different parts of India have already started using the technique.