when can I swallow properly again following oropharyngectomy&neck dissection

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Hi all

I had my oropharyngectomy and neck dissection operation last monday and staples come out this afternoon. The main problem I have is with swallowing and ear pain when swallowing. I can only get down silky soft fluides/sorbet etc, anything else just gets stuck or comes out of my nose. Just wondered how long it will be to progress onto more solid foods. I had a pureed roast last night, managed most of it but the salt in the gravy was a bit stingy.

  • That is a difficult one, we are all different.  When I had tonsillectomies I found that I was progressing onto things like shepherd's pie around about now.  It took another week or so before I was able to introduce more solid food.  Your throat will still be quite tender despite the initial healing.  That could last for some weeks.  I would use the mantra - little and often and experiment.  See what works and what does not.

    I too found salt and issue and still do.

    The ear pain is not uncommon as the nerves for everything in that area intertwine and I often get earache as a a result of treatment, even though the treatment never went anywhere near my ear.  It does go as the body totally heals.

    I am now in week 11 post chemoradiation and still on soft foods, but from surgery you should recover much sooner.

    Peter
    See my profile for more details of my convoluted journey
  • Thank you - trying the little and often approach, when I had the tonsils out I was on softer food by now but I think they have taken more of the muscles out this time. I'll take each day as it comes, at least the staples came out ok.

  • I was worried about my staples coming out.  I questioned the nurse extensively to make sure she knew what she was doing Laughing  She did and I actually found them more comfortable to remove than the stitches I had for my first dissection.

    Peter
    See my profile for more details of my convoluted journey
  •   I questioned the nurse extensively to make sure she knew what she was doing

    Ha ha. I bet she loved you. 
    You can buy staple removers on Amazon and they come with instructions. She probably looked there first 

    Dani 

    Base of tongue cancer. T2N0M0 6 weeks Radiotherapy finished January 2019

    I wrote a blog about my cancer. just click on the link below 

    https://todaymycoffeetasteslikechristmasincostarica.com 

    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm

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  • She was OK about it all.  The hospital sent me a removal pack in the post to take to the nurse.  That was what caused me some concern...  Maybe she had not done it before... but she had plenty of experience.

    Peter
    See my profile for more details of my convoluted journey