The procedure to surgically remove the maxilla is called maxillectomy. It is used to treat cancer of the oral cavity, nasal cavity, or maxillary sinuses.
There are two maxillary sinuses in the face, one under the cheeks, above the teeth, and one on either side of the nose. A maxillectomy involves the surgical removal or resection of the maxilla or upper jaw bone.
A full maxillectomy involves the removal of the entire maxilla, whereas a partial maxillectomy involves only the removal of the medial wall or floor of the maxillary sinus. The main goal of this procedure is to remove the tumour in its entirety while preserving the functions of the jaw.
The maxilla: the upper part of the jaw bone
The maxillary sinuses are found above the teeth, below the cheeks, and on each side of the nose. The maxilla, or upper jaw bone, is surgically removed or resected in a maxillectomy. A total or partial maxillectomy is possible. The entire maxilla is resected in a total maxillectomy. A restricted maxillectomy, on the other hand, is a partial resection that only removes the median wall of the maxillary sinus floor. The removal of malignancy from the maxillary sinus would be a result of a maxillectomy. Before surgery, your surgeon will go through the details of the procedure with you. The procedure's primary goal is to eliminate the tumour while maintaining the functionality of the jaw.
Following are the things you can do to prepare yourself for the surgery:
The follow-up should start as soon as the surgery is completed. You should begin scheduling follow-up appointments with your doctor after a week of surgery for a holistic healing process. You need to rest and take care of yourself. Avoid doing any strenuous activities like bending or lifting. Routine dressings are done by nurses and doctors. Family members can help in a patient's recovery as well. With regular follow-up, your medications will also be changed, and doses are modified according to the level of healing. Surgery is a mentally draining and stressful process, do not neglect your mental health. Initially, it will be difficult to adjust to the changes in your body. Consult a therapist or a counsellor if you feel the need.
As with any surgical procedure, there are some risks in a maxillectomy. The risks and complications include:
Numbness: depending upon the size of the tumour, temporary or permanent numbness and weakness can be caused in the neck, shoulder and facial.
Watery eyes: also called Epiphora, it involves an excessive flow of tears due to surgical swelling.
Change in the vision.
Complications due to anaesthesia.
Depending on how invasive and intensive the surgery is, some essential post-surgery measures must be undertaken for better recovery, as follows:
Avoid strenuous activities such as lifting and bending for at least two weeks after surgery. Don’t consume hot meals and fluids while you have a numb tongue. Gently brush your teeth, and switch to saline irrigation once the nasal packing has been removed. Visit a prosthodontist for oral rehabilitation and repair.