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Head and Neck Reconstruction

Head and Neck Reconstruction - What it is

Head and Neck Reconstruction - Symptoms

Head and Neck Reconstruction - How to prevent?

Head and Neck Reconstruction - Causes and Risk Factors

Head and Neck Reconstruction - Diagnosis

Head and Neck Reconstruction - Preparing for surgery

Head and Neck Reconstruction - Post-surgery care

What to expect after surgery?

 After waking up from anaesthesia, you will be nursed in the High Dependency unit.

  • There will be frequent checks by the doctors and nurses to ensure both you and the flap is healthy and doing well
  • There will be many monitoring lines and drainage tubes on your body
  • Discomfort will be minimal, as adequate painkillers will be given
  • A feeding tube is used as you will be unable to take food normally at the beginning
  • A tracheostomy tube to help you breathe will also mean you cannot speak for a few days until the tube is removed

You will be bedbound initially after the long surgery. But over the subsequent days, the various lines and tubes will be progressively removed one by one, and you will soon be getting up and about with the help of the physiotherapists and nurses. Thereafter you will be transferred to the General Ward, where you will continue to recover and recuperate. The estimated length of stay in hospital is usually up to 1.5 to 2 weeks if no significant complications occur after surgery.

Home care after surgery

  • Avoid strenuous activities, and rest and recuperate at home.
  • Sometimes, depending on the extent and location of the surgery, your swallowing may still be affected by the time of discharge, and you will need to continue tube feeding to obtain adequate nutrition. If so, you, as well as your carer, will undergo training before discharge on how to look after the feeding tube. After discharge, continue with the diet regime as instructed by the dietician.
  • If there are any remnant wounds that require dressings, to keep the dressings clean and dry, and have them changed at a clinic as instructed by your doctors.
  • Continue any exercises and other self-therapies as taught by the Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapist and Speech Therapist.
  • Remember to return for all the outpatient appointments to the hospital.

When to seek medical consultation after discharge?

  • Fever
  • Change in status of wounds – increased pain, redness, discharge or odour
  • Problems with feeding tubes, drains or other catheters
  • New abnormal symptoms

You can call the Specialist Outpatient Clinic and ask to see your doctor earlier. For more urgent situations, please go to the hospital Accident and Emergency for help.

The information provided is not intended as medical advice. Terms of use. Information provided by SingHealth

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