Tumours of the mouth, jaw and face are neoplasms which are not controlled by the superordinated organism, due to their autonomous growth. Tumours can be benign or malignant. They always emerge from a certain tissue and are named accordingly.
A malignant tumour is a serious illness, which can progress rapidly if not correspondingly treated. Advanced tumour stadiums are harder to treat and have a less positive healing prognosis than recent ones. For this reason early diagnosis of tumours is of very great importance. Your doctor and your dentist are aware of this, and explicitly examine your skin and oral mucosa at every opportunity. If there is suspected tumourous neoplasm, your doctor will refer you to a specialist to clarify an unclear diagnosis.
If the diagnosis “malignant tumour” has been established, further examinations are necessary, depending on the type of tissue and dimension of the tumour. These examinations are best carried out in a center (tumour staging), as established diagnostic methods have been conceived for every type of tumour, thus avoiding all unnecessary double examinations. It is often possible to carry out these examinations ambulantly, after discussing this with the patient. Once all examination results are available, the doctors of the oro-maxillo-facial surgery team will explain the best way to proceed with treatment to the patient and/or his relatives. In the case of extensive tumours, difficult constellations, when e.g. the patient is suffering from other illnesses, and in borderline cases, decisions concerning suitable treatment are made on an interdisciplinary basis with radiologists, oncologists and further specialists from related fields such as ENT, neurosurgery and opthalmology. Generally the methods of treatment in question are the surgical removal of the tumour, radiation and chemotherapy. These methods can also be combined.
For most malignant tumours in the head and neck area, the method of choice is the surgical removal of the tumour. The head and neck region, and especially the face, is a highly sensitive area for surgery, as here the functional and aesthetic requirements are of greater importance than in any other region of the human body. With this in mind, tumour surgery is always planned with the concept of best possible repair of the damage caused by resection. Our broad surgical spectrum of reconstructive surgery is of great benefit here. Using a wide range of possibilities in plastic and reconstructive surgery techniques we are able to replace both soft tissue as well as bone with the body’s own tissue. This enables the patient to build up lost bone again, even for example in the case of large tumours or when complete areas of the jaw have been removed. Dental implants can then be inserted and the patient’s chewing function can be completely rehabilitated.
Interested and/or affected patients should address themselves to the clinic during regular clinic hours (Langerstraße 3, 81675 München); Monday to Friday 8.30 – 12.00; private patients should report to the secretariat of Univ.-Prof. Dr. Dr. K.-D. Wolff). An individual consultation with correspondingly trained and experienced doctors and surgeons can then take place.
Picture 1: Fibroma (benign connective tissue tumour) of the lower lip
Picture 2: Squamous epithelium carcinoma (malignant epithelial tumour on the right side of the tongue)