Head and Neck Surgery
Head and neck surgery can be used to treat cancerous and noncancerous tumors in the head and neck, as well as tumors in the thyroid and parathyroid.
At The University of Kansas Health System, our physicians are nationally recognized leaders in the management of head and neck disorders. We provide the most progressive medical and surgical treatments available, including minimally invasive options.
What is head and neck surgery?
There are many different types of head and neck surgeries, depending on the condition(s) being treated. Our team of specialists can diagnose both minor and complex conditions and provide the most progressive medical treatments available.
Head and neck surgery often involves a number of procedures and covers a broad range of specialty areas.
Who can have head and neck surgery?
When medication and other nonsurgical treatments have not been effective, surgery is the recommended treatment for people suffering from serious conditions affecting the head and neck.
How does head and neck surgery work?
A combination of treatments can work together to address head and neck diseases and conditions:
Benefits and risks of head and neck surgery
Advanced surgery for head and neck conditions can improve your quality of life and may, in some cases, even save your life. As with any surgery, there is a potential risk for infection, scarring or not achieving the desired results. Your doctor will go over the risks and benefits of your surgery in detail before scheduling your procedure.
What happens during head and neck surgery?
The process your surgeon follows will be different for each person, depending on the specific condition that’s being treated. Generally, minimally invasive and robotic surgical techniques mean a shorter procedure time as well as a shorter and easier recovery compared to traditional open surgery.
During endoscopic laser surgery, your surgeon uses a laser to cut away microscopic amounts of tissue. These are immediately evaluated under a microscope to determine if they are cancerous. When all the cancerous tissue has been removed, the surgery ends.
This gradual removal technique preserves healthy tissue and function. It also eliminates the need for extensive surgery that damages important throat structures. With this procedure, swallowing, breathing and voice can often be preserved.
Reconstructive techniques range from using small amounts of tissue from areas near the surgical site to using skin, bones and tendons from distant areas of the body to reconstruct the intricate function and contours of the head and neck. Our physicians pioneered a reconstructive technique using tissues from the forearm, which they now teach to surgeons around the country.
Specialized reconstructive techniques are used not only after removal of tumors, but also in the treatment of head and neck deformities caused by birth defects, injuries and surgical procedures.
The University of Kansas Health System is home to the region's only surgical team that specializes in the removal of tumors in the base of the skull.
We are 1 of only a few hospitals in the United States that removes skull base tumors using virtually all types of standard and minimally invasive surgical techniques.
Our specialists combine expertise with state-of-the-art technologies to provide the safest and most comprehensive care possible.
More than 30,000 new cases of thyroid cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year. Many people don’t experience symptoms until the disease has reached an advanced stage. Treatment for thyroid cancer can include surgery as well as radioactive iodine and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) suppression therapy.
New minimally invasive endoscopic techniques have been developed for the management of thyroid nodules. These techniques allow better visualization during surgery and lead to smaller neck incisions, less postoperative pain/swelling and shorter hospital stays.