Nutritional assessment in a maxillectomy patient from the preoperative period to definitive obturator insertion: A case report

J Prosthodont Res. 2021 Oct 14. doi: 10.2186/jpr.JPR_D_20_00250. Online ahead of print.


Patient: A 69-year-old Japanese male with squamous cell carcinoma of the right maxilla (T4M0N0) was referred to our department for a preoperative examination. An immediate surgical obturator was fabricated before surgery. He underwent surgical treatment, which included right subtotal maxillectomy and reconstruction with a split skin graft. One week postoperatively, the immediate surgical obturator was modified to expand the nasal cavity for obturator prosthesis. Oral intake was started 12 days postoperatively with an immediate surgical obturator in situ. The definitive obturator was fabricated after the wound surface had healed 8 months postoperatively. Assessment of the nutritional status included body mass index, serum albumin level, resting energy expenditure (REE) measured using indirect calorimetry, and predicted REE using the Harris-Benedict equation. These assessments were performed several times, from the time of admission until the definitive obturator was applied.

Discussion: Malnutrition occurs frequently in patients with head and neck cancer because this region is vital for swallowing and mastication. Maxillectomy patients require a maxillofacial prosthesis to improve their nutritional status from the preoperative period to recovery. This case report describes maxillofacial prosthetic treatment from the perspective of nutrition. The patient wore the immediate surgical obturator postoperatively, which was followed by marked weight loss after restoration, and then weight gain returned to the normal range when wearing the definitive obturator.

Conclusion: Maxillofacial prosthetic treatments should make efforts to maintain nutritional status and achieve optimal function and quality of life in patients with head and neck cancers.

Keywords: Head and neck cancer; Maxillectomy; Nutrition assessments; Resting energy expenditure.