Doctors transfer salivary gland into patient’s forearm
According to Hagen, intensive radiotherapy is generally necessary in patients with malignant head and neck tumours. The therapy often damages the salivary glands permanently and causes dry mouth, a condition that also negatively affects patients’ teeth and gums, as it can lead to tooth decay.
Although radiotherapy has become less aggressive, especially with regard to parotid glands, this is not the case for submandibular glands, Hagen added. As he was able to maintain full functionality of at least one of the six large salivary glands with the new method, Hagen hopes that the new method could help many mouth cancer patients suffering from dry mouth.
Every year, up to 100 patients who could be treated with this method are admitted to the clinic in Würzburg. Currently, more patients are awaiting their transplantation surgery, the clinic announced.