Impact of reconstructive microsurgery on patients with cancer of the head and neck: a prospective study of quality of life, particularly in older patients

E. Segna, A. R. Bolzoni, A. B. Giannì, A. Baj, G. A. Beltramini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Treatment of cancer of the head and neck often requires extended resection and major reconstructive surgery, both of which can have great functional and emotional impact. It is fundamental to evaluate the outcome with respect not only to the clinical aspects but also to the quality of life (QoL) perceived by the patients. In the light of the reported increasing incidence of oral cancer in older patients, we decided to see if there was an association between QoL and age. Between June 2015 and December 2016 we submitted the Italian version of the 36-item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) to 30 patients (mean (range) age 65.5 (23–87) years) who had had resection and microsurgical reconstruction at the Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico of Milan. The questionnaires were completed before operation, and 12 months afterwards, and clinical and personal data were also collected. From the results of SF-36 we obtained the Short Form 12 (SF-12), Physical Health Composite Score (PCS), and Mental Health Composite Score (MCS) and looked at how age influences the variation in QoL scores. The variation between SF-36 and SF-12 results (preoperatively and postoperatively) did not seem to correlate with age. Our study confirmed that reconstructive microsurgery can be realistically proposed to older as well as younger patients because, according to the QoL index, older patients are able to manage (and therefore take advantage of) this complex surgical technique.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)830-834
JournalBritish Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2018



  • Frail Elderly
  • Free Tissue Flaps
  • Head and Neck Cancer
  • Patient Health Questionnaire
  • Quality of Life
  • Reconstructive Microsurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology

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