Head & Neck Reconstruction 2020-03-22T22:52:01+00:00

Head and Neck Reconstruction

Head and neck reconstruction is the restoration of form and function of the face, head, neck and inside the mouth after cancer surgery or trauma.
Cancer in the head and neck area is becoming more common and risk factors include smoking, alcohol, and HPV (human papilloma virus) infection.
It usually presents as a painful lesion or a non-healing ulcer.

This cancer may present as the following.

Intra-oral cancer:
Tongue, buccal, floor of mouth, palatal, gingival, mandibular and other.

Extra-oral cancer:
Lip, parotid, extensive skin cancers (squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma), maxillary defects.


The aim in head and neck reconstruction is to return function and to maintain the aesthetic form of the face as much as possible.

Function includes eating, oral continence, swallowing, speech and kissing.

To achieve these goals we use a various number of free or pedicled vascularised flaps (tissue harvested from other areas in the body with its own blood supply) with different indications.

Flaps may be harvested from the forearms, legs, thighs or chest.  They may contain soft tissue only or vascularised bone as well, which is used to reconstruct the mandible or maxilla.

These procedures are complex and require a highly specialised head and neck unit.

MDT ( multi disciplinary team)

These types of cases should be treated in a specialised unit. 

The multidisciplinary team includes medical and radiation oncologists, pathologists, intensive care physicians, maxillo-facial surgeons, prosthodontists, dieticians, physiotherapists and psychologists. Patients are treated holistically, in close communication with other health care professionals, which is the current gold standard in the management of these complicated cases.

Our unit at DGMC  offers world-class oncological and reconstructive surgery based on the latest evidence-based methods and techniques.  Dr Alan Cairns heads our oncology surgery department and works closely with other specialities to offer thorough treatment to our patients.

Dr Dimitri Liakos is a member of the College of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons of South Africa and a member of the Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons of South Africa (APRASSA).

He is a member of the World Society of Reconstructive Microsurgeons (WSRM) and the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ISAPS).