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Had neoplasm supraglottic. Had inserted peg tube due to imparied epiglottis and base of the tongue damaged. Guide?

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Practicing since : 2002
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My husband had malig neoplasm supraglottic which now shows no sign of tumor after successful erbitux and radiation treatment. It was necessary to insert a trach because in was blocking the windpipe. A peg tube was suggested but not given due to our decision. He still has the trach which should be removed as soon as swelling allows. Now it is suggested that a peg tube be placed because he has a impaired epiglottis and damage to base of the tonge according to a barium swelling test.
Posted Tue, 25 Jun 2013 in Cancer
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 2 hours later
Hello and thanks for the query.

Your question is a good one and I will work on providing you with some guidance.

Frequently in the setting of cancer of the head and neck we use chemotherapy and radiation. Particularly in cancers involving the mouth and throat this can cause a significant degree of irritation of the soft tissue. This makes eating and drinking very difficult.

In the case of your husband I think the feeding tube is a good temporary consideration to help maintain his nutrition and hydration. This may also decrease the likelihood that he would aspirate secrets while eating or drinking.

The feeding tube is of course a temporary treatment. As his tissue heals and as he recovers you can discuss the removal of the feeding tube with his doctors.

Thanks again for submitting the query.

Please let me know if you have any additional specific concerns.

Dr Galamaga
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Had neoplasm supraglottic. Had inserted peg tube due to imparied epiglottis and base of the tongue damaged. Guide? 5 days later
Is this condition reversible with therapy and swallowing and speech exercising to the point where the epiglottis will work properly again. At this time the food is going down the lungs. He has since had an emergency peg tube placed.
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 5 hours later
Hello again,

Every patient is different and time will tell us how well he will recover after the treatments. Typically the swallowing ability will improve as treatments finish and tissue heals.

I am glad he has the feeding tube in place now - this will help assure proper nutrition and hydration and will decrease the risk of aspiration and pneumonia.

The healing process is very gradual and may take weeks.

Thanks again for sharing your concerns. Please let me know if I can be of any additional assistance.

Dr. Galamaga
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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