Reconstructive Surgery Expert Forum
Can an epiglottis be repaired?
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Questions in the Reconstructive Surgery Forum are being answered by Dr. Archibald Sanford Miller III, MD,FACS, the Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine.

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Can an epiglottis be repaired?

Has anyone had their epiglottis repaired?  50% of mine was surgically removed during a 12 hour cancer "salvage" surgery 2.5 years ago.  The surgery and subsequent chemo saved my life.  The surgery resulted in an inability to eat any solid foods.  I have to drink my meals in a reclining position thereby letting gravity do some of the work that my epiglottis did in the past; basically protecting my airway while swallowing.  I've studied this part of the human anatomy and it is very complex.  There are lots of parts working together to make swallowing a natural function.  There are other surgery-related side effects that impact my swallowing (e.g., removal of a small part of my soft pallet, nerve removal within parts of my throat), but the epiglottis is the largest of the issues.  If anyone has any helpful suggestions, resources in which to point me, or success stories of epiglottis repair to share with me, I'd like to hear and pursue them.  Thank you.
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At this point in time, there are no epiglottis replacements. There are some isolated procedures that are done to help people eat normally, and I recommend that you see your reconstructive surgeon and ask about those procedures. They are not perfect, but do help in many instances.

                                    arch s miller ms md facs
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