Oral Cancer and Tumors
Our experienced team of surgeons focuses on the surgical management of cancers of the head and neck and are members of the multidisciplinary head and neck cancer team at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center.
To make an appointment, contact one of our two Baltimore locations.
Head and Neck Cancer
Over 50,000 people are diagnosed with some form of head and neck cancer each year within the USA.
Head and neck cancer treatment requires a multidisciplinary approach to care involving surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, speech/language pathologists, maxillofacial prosthodontists, nutritionists and rehabilitation therapists.
Jaw Tumor Surgery
Tumors and cysts of the jaws represent a diverse group of diseases that can originate from both tooth-related structures (odontogenic) and non-tooth-related sources (non-odontogenic) within the jaws, including:
- Cysts associated with impacted teeth can very often be treated by scraping the cyst and removing the associated tooth
- Jaw tumors like ameloblastoma or myxoma require a more aggressive approach with surgical resection of the jaw to ensure complete removal and minimize chance of recurrence
- Patients requiring surgical removal of these tumors can often have immediate jaw reconstruction with microvascular-free flaps and simultaneous dental implant replacement
- Other less aggressive tumors like fibro-osseous tumors and giant cell lesions can often be treated with removal and preservation of the surrounding jaw and facial bone structure
Some jaw tumors can be associated with systemic conditions, including:
- Giant cell tumors and parathyroid disease
- Keratocysts of the jaws and basal cell nevus syndrome
Following treatment of such diseases, the oral-maxillofacial team follows patients closely to watch for any signs of recurrence with clinical exam and various radiographic imaging techniques (orthopantomogram and CT scan).
Minimally Invasive Robotic Surgery
Treatment of cancers of the tongue base and throat can leave patients with significant swallowing problems. Robotic surgery has the advantages of decreased swallow dysfunction, reduced hospitalization/recovery and potentially eliminating the need for radiation or chemoradiation therapy.
Transoral robotic surgery allows access to tumors of the tongue base and tonsil through minimally invasive access approaches thereby improving appearance and eliminating the need for formal reconstructive surgery.
Neck masses represent a diverse group of diseases that can develop within the head and neck.
There are three broad categories of neck masses.
- Congenital (i.e. branchial cleft cyst, thyroglossal duct cyst)
- Neoplastic (benign and malignant tumors)
Malignant growths can be associated with cancers of the head and neck originating from the oral cavity, oropharynx, throat or thyroid. Other cancers such as lymphoma can also present with a neck mass.
At your consultation, our specialists will perform a detailed history and clinical exam that may also include the use of a specialized fiberoptic camera to look at structures within the mouth and throat.
Patients will likely require imaging with CT scan, MRI or ultrasound to help visualize the neck mass. Biopsy may be performed in the office setting using a needle technique or with an open surgical technique in the operating room under general anesthesia as an outpatient day case.
The oral cavity has a specialized skin (mucosa) that can be affected by various disease processes. Although natural pigment may occur, the mucosa is generally smooth and coral pink in color. Any alteration in this appearance could be a warning sign for a pathological process. The most serious of these is oral cancer. The following can be signs at the beginning of a pathological process or cancerous growth:
- Reddish patches (erythroplasia) or whitish patches (leukoplakia) in the mouth
- A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
- A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth
- Chronic sore throat or hoarseness and/or difficulty in chewing or swallowing
Biopsy is considered the gold standard to establish a diagnosis, often able to be performed in our office.
Pre-cancerous lesions such as dysplasia can often be managed by laser removal in the comfort of our office.
Salivary Gland Disease
The salivary glands are specialized glands that produce saliva that drain into the mouth and throat. The two most common problems associated with salivary gland disease include obstructive diseases (result of salivary stones or trauma) and tumors (can be either benign or malignant). Salivary gland cancers are rare, accounting for 3-6 percent of all head and neck cancers.
Patients referred for management of salivary gland disease will often require advanced imaging techniques such as CT scan, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or ultrasound-guided imaging with biopsy to help establish a diagnosis.
Skin Cancer of the Face
The head and neck cancer team utilizes various techniques, including laser therapy and surgery, to treat skin cancer, both pre-cancerous and cancerous skin lesions on the face and neck. Surgical reconstruction is performed at both our locations — the UMOMSA office and the University of Maryland Medical Center.
The most common childhood vascular tumor is the hemangioma. Approximately 60 percent of hemangiomas occur within the head and neck
Vascular malformations include low-flow malformations of capillaries or veins and high-flow malformations of arteries. The majority of lymphatic malformations develop within the head and neck, often occurring within the tongue, causing symptoms of speech impairment, swelling and swallowing dysfunction.
Treatment includes both non-surgical (sclerotherapy) and surgical removal with reconstruction. We work closely with University of Maryland interventional radiologists and vascular surgeons as embolization procedures are often needed prior to surgery.