Emerging Concepts Impacting Head and Neck Cancer Surgery Morbidity

Oncol Ther. 2023 Mar;11(1):1-13. doi: 10.1007/s40487-022-00217-0. Epub 2022 Dec 24.


All treatment modalities for head and neck cancer carry with them a risk of adverse events. Head and neck surgeons are faced with significant challenges to minimize associated morbidity and manage its sequelae. Recognizing situations in which a surgical complication is an adverse event inherent to the procedure can alleviate the psychologic impact a complication might have on the treatment team and minimize external and internal pressures. Focusing on the complications that can be effectively modified, future complications can be avoided. Also, some surgical morbidities may not be preventable, necessitating the option to reconsider whether the incidents should be labeled toxic reactions rather than a complication. This discussion highlights some of the areas in which additional research is needed to achieve the goal of minimizing the impact of surgical morbidity.

Keywords: Cancer; Complication; Head and neck; Morbidity; Toxicity.