Critically ill surgical patients are always at increased risk of actual or potentially life-threatening health complications. Central/peripheral venous lines form a key part of their care. We review the current evidence on incidence of central and peripheral venous catheter-related bloodstream infections in critically ill surgical patients, and outline pathways for prevention and intervention. An extensive systematic electronic search was carried out on the relevant databases. Articles were considered suitable for inclusion if they investigated catheter colonisation and catheter-related bloodstream infection. Two independent reviewers engaged in selecting the appropriate articles in line with our protocol retrieved 8 articles published from 1999 to 2011. Outcomes on CVC colonisation and infections were investigated in six studies; four of which were prospective cohort studies, one prospective longitudinal study and one retrospective cohort study. Outcomes relating only to PICCs were reported in one prospective randomised trial. We identified only one study that compared CVC- and PICC-related complications in surgical intensive care units. Although our search protocol may not have yielded an exhaustive list we have identified a key deficiency in the literature, namely a paucity of studies investigating the incidence of CVC- and PICC-related bloodstream infection in exclusively critically ill surgical populations. In summary, the diverse definitions for the diagnosis of central and peripheral venous catheter-related bloodstream infections along with the vastly different sample size and extremely small PICC population size has, predictably, yielded inconsistent findings. Our current understanding is still limited; the studies we have identified do point us towards some tentative understanding that the CVC/PICC performance remains inconclusive.
Thyroid carcinoma generally responds well to treatment and spinal metastasis is an uncommon feature. Many studies have looked at the management of spinal metastasis and proposed treatments, plans and algorithms. These range from well-established methods to potentially novel alternatives including bisphosphonates and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapy, amongst others.
The purposes of this systematic review of the literature are twofold. Firstly we sought to analyse the proposed management options in the literature. Then, secondly, we endeavoured to make recommendations that might improve the prognosis of patients with spinal metastasis from thyroid carcinomas.
We conducted an extensive electronic literature review regarding the management of spinal metastasis of thyroid cancer.
We found that there is a tangible lack of studies specifically analysing the management of spinal metastasis in thyroid cancer. Our results show that there are palliative and curative options in the management of spinal metastasis, in the forms of radioiodine ablation, surgery, selective embolisation, bisphosphonates and more recently the VEGF receptor targets.
The management of spinal metastasis from thyroid cancer should be multi-disciplinary. There is an absence; it seems, of a definitive protocol for treatment. Research shows increased survival with 131I avidity and complete bone metastasis resection. Early detection and treatment therefore are crucial. Studies suggest in those patients below the age of 45 years that treatment should be aggressive, and aim for cure. In those patients in whom curative treatment is not an option, palliative treatments are available.
As a result of major ablative surgery, head and neck oncology patients can be left with significant defects in the orofacial region. The resultant defect raises the need for advanced reconstruction techniques. The reconstruction in this region is aimed at restoring function and facial contour. The use of vascularised free flaps has revolutionised the reconstruction in the head and neck. Advances in reconstruction techniques have resulted in continuous improvement of oral rehabilitation. For example, endosteal implants are being used to restore the masticatory function by the way of prosthetic replacement of the dentition. Implant rehabilitation usually leads to improved facial appearance, function, restoration of speech and mastication. Suitable dental implant placement’s site requires satisfactory width, height and quality of bone. Reconstruction of hard tissue defects therefore will need to be tailored to meet the needs for implant placement.
The aim of this feasibility study was to assess the compatibility of five standard commercially available dental implant systems (Biomet 3i, Nobel Biocare, Astra tech, Straumann and Ankylos) for placement into vascularised fibula graft during the reconstruction of oromandibular region.
Radiographs (2D) of the lower extremities from 142 patients in the archives of the Department of Radiology in University College London Hospitals (UCLH) were analysed in this study. These radiographs were from 61 females and 81 males. Additionally, 60 unsexed dry fibular bones, 30 right sided, acquired from the collection of the Department of Anatomy, University College London (UCL) were also measured to account for the 3D factor.
In the right fibula (dry bone), 90% of the samples measured had a width of 13.1 mm. While in the left fibula (dry bone), 90% of the samples measured had a width of 13.3 mm. Fibulas measured on radiographs had a width of 14.3 mm in 90% of the samples. The length ranges of the dental implants used in this study were: 7-13 mm (Biomet 3i), 10-13 mm (Nobel biocare), 8-13 mm (Astra Tech), 8-12 mm (Straumann ) and 8-11 mm (Ankylos).
This study reached a conclusion that the width of fibula is sufficient for placement of most frequently used dental implants for oral rehabilitation after mandibular reconstructive procedures.
The incidence of head and neck cancer is relatively low in developed countries and highest in South East Asia. Notwithstanding advances in surgery and radiotherapy over the past several decades, the 5-year survival rate for head and neck cancer has stagnated and remains at 50–55%. This is due, in large part, to both regional and distant disease spread, including spinal metastasis. Spinal metastasis from head and neck cancer is rare, has a poor prognosis and can significantly impede end-stage quality of life; normally only palliative care is given.
This study aims to conduct a systematic review of the evidence available on management of spinal metastasis from head and neck cancer and to use such evidence to draw up guiding principles in the management of the distant spread.
Systematic review of the electronic literature was conducted regarding the management of spinal metastasis of head and neck malignancies.
Due to the exceptional rarity of head and neck cancers metastasizing to the spine, there is a paucity of good randomized controlled trials into the management of spinal metastasis. This review produced only 12 case studies/reports and 2 small retrospective cohort studies that lacked appropriate controls.
Management should aim to improve end-stage quality of life and maintain neurological function. This review has found that radiotherapy +/− medical adjuvant is considered the principle treatment of spinal metastasis of head and neck cancers.
There is an absence of a definitive treatment protocol for head and neck cancer spinal metastasis. Our failure to find and cite high-quality scientific evidence only serves to stress the need for good quality research in this area.
Burkitt’s lymphoma is a highly aggressive lymphoma. The endemic form is present with Epstein - Barr virus. The most common sites are the mandible, facial bones, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, ovaries, breast and extra-nodal sites. We present the first reported case of a primary Burkitt’s lymphoma of the postnasal space occurring in an elderly Caucasian male.
A 72-year-old Caucasian male farmer presented with a 6-week history of a productive cough and a painless left sided cervical swelling. Examination of the neck revealed a 5 cm by 5 cm hard mass in the left anterior triangle. A CT scan of the head and neck showed a soft tissue swelling in the postnasal space. Histology of the postnasal space mass showed squamous mucosa infiltrated by a high grade lymphoma.
Immunohistochemical staining and in situ hybridisation confirmed the tumour to be Epstein - Barr virus Ribonucleic acid negative suggesting this was a rare sporadic form of the tumour presenting in a location that is atypical for the clinical subtype and age of the patient.
This is the first reported case of sporadic Burkitt’s lymphoma of the postnasal space of an elderly Caucasian male in the absence of Epstein - Barr virus or human immunodeficiency virus infection and further serves to illustrate the diversity of histological subtypes of malignancies that may develop at this concealed site.
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a non-invasive optical technology using near-infrared light to produce cross-sectional tissue images with lateral resolution.
The overall aims of this study was to generate a bank of normative and pathological OCT data of the oral tissues to allow identification of cellular structures of normal and pathological processes with the aim to create a diagnostic algorithm which can be used in the early detection of oral disorders.
Material and methods
Seventy-three patients with 78 suspicious oral lesions were referred for further management to the UCLH Head and Neck Centre, London. The entire cohort had their lesions surgically biopsied (incisional or excisional). The immediate ex vivo phase involved scanning the specimens using optical coherence tomography. The specimens were then processed by a histopathologist.
Five tissue structures were evaluated as part of this study, including: keratin cell layer, epithelial layer, basement membrane, lamina propria and other microanatomical structures. Two independent assessors (clinician and pathologist trained to use OCT) assessed the OCT images and were asked to comment on the cellular structures and changes involving the five tissue structures in non-blind fashion.
Correct identification of the keratin cell layer and its structural changes was achieved in 87% of the cohort; for the epithelial layer it reached 93.5%, and 94% for the basement membrane. Microanatomical structures identification was 64% for blood vessels, 58% for salivary gland ducts and 89% for rete pegs. The agreement was “good” between the clinician and the pathologist.
OCT was able to differential normal from pathological tissue and pathological tissue of different entities in this immediate ex vivo study. Unfortunately, OCT provided inadequate cellular and subcellular information to enable the grading of oral premalignant disorders.
This study enabled the creation of OCT bank of normal and pathological oral tissues. The pathological changes identified using OCT enabled differentiation between normal and pathological tissues, and identification of different tissue pathologies.
Further studies are required to assess the accuracy of OCT in identification of various pathological processes involving the oral tissues.
We briefly highlight the growing body of recent evidence linking unprotected oral sex with the development of some types of head and neck cancer in younger patients. These tumours appear to be increasing in incidence although the development of more sensitive methods of HPV detection may be a confounding factor.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) - the fourth modality - has been successfully used in the management of early and advanced pathologies of the head and neck. We studied the effect of this modality on a giant solitary neurofibroma of the neck. A 70-year-old Caucasian female presented with left neck pain and disfigurement associated with slight shortness of breath and dysphagia. Examination revealed a large mass in the neck with no neurovascular compromise. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) reported a heterogeneously enhancing mass extending from the left angle of the mandible to the base of the neck. A core biopsy was performed and histopathological examination revealed a disorganised array of peripheral nerve fascicles. The patient elected to receive photodynamic therapy as the primary intervention. The multi-disciplinary meeting approved the treatment plan. The photosensitizing agent was mTHPC (0.15 mg/kg), which was systemically administered 96-hours prior to ultrasound (US)-guided light delivery to the mass, which was undertaken under general anaesthesia. Recovery was uneventful.Post-PDT follow-up showed that the patient’s pain, dysphagia and shortness of breath issues had improved. The disfigurement of the neck caused by the mass was no longer a problem. Three months post-PDT, MRI revealed a significant reduction in the neurofibroma size. PDT was proven as a successful primary intervention for this pathology. However, higher evidence-based studies are required before this therapy can be proposed as a replacement to any of the other conventional therapies.
Although pilomatrixomas are frequently encountered by dermatologists and pathologists in the differential diagnosis of head and neck lesions, this is not usually the case among head and neck surgeons.
A pilomatrixoma (calcifying epithelioma of Malherbe) is a benign tumour of the hair matrix cells. Histologically it is characterised by the presence of ghost cells, basophilic cells and foreign body cells. It may sometimes be difficult to histologically distinguish it from its malignant counterpart, the pilomatrix carcinoma.
We report an interesting case of an ulcerated pilomatrixoma of the pinna in a middle-aged Caucasian female.
A 46-year-old Caucasian female presented with a one-month history of tender brownish lump on the pinna. Initially it was thought to represent a pyogenic granuloma. The lesion was treated by wide circular excision. Histopathological evaluation reported a benign calcifying epithelioma of Malherbe.
A search of the world’s literature has led us to believe that this is a rare case of a calcifying epithelioma of Malherbe of the pinna. The rapid growth and ulcerative nature of this tumour makes this case even more unique.
Cystic lesions within the parotid gland are uncommon and clinically they are frequently misdiagnosed as tumours. Many theories have been proposed as to their embryological origin. A 20-year retrospective review was undertaken of all pathological codes (SNOMED) of all of patients presenting with any parotid lesions requiring surgery. After analysis seven subjects were found to have histopathologically proven parotid branchial cysts in the absence of HIV infection and those patients are the aim of this review. Four of the most common embryological theories are also discussed with regard to these cases, as are their management.
Perioperative blood transfusion is associated with reduced prognosis in a number of solid malignancies. We investigate its role in a head & neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC) cell lines. Growth of these cell lines was analogous to endothelial growth. Direct exposure to transfusion products exaggerated this effect. It was logical therefore to assess the effects of anti-endothelial antibodies on this interaction.
Materials and methods
Control (HUVEC) and tumour cell lines were exposed to transfusion products. The pre-incubation of the transfusion product with anti-endothelial growth factors was assessed by a growth assay. Where appropriate cells were pre-incubated for 1 hour with 10 μl of a mixture of 100 μl of each and anti-ligand antibodies, the corresponding blood product supplement was incubated with 10 μl of a mixture of 100 μl each of anti-ligand antibodies 1 hour before supplementation to the appropriate cell line. All results are representative of at least two independent experiments carried out in triplicate.
The antibody did not directly reduce growth in the tumour cell line, however there was a significant reduction (p < 0.001) in tumour cell line vascular mimicry caused by transfusion products pre-incubation with anti-endothelial growth factor antibody. This was found in several other tumours.
Perioperative blood transfusion is associated with reduced prognosis in a number of solid malignancies including HNSCC. However this phenomenon is abrogated by the use of anti-endothelial growth factor antibodies. This suggests that the original effect was mediated by the endothelial growth factor family.
The CO2 laser was invented in 1963 by Kumar Patel. Since the early 1970s, CO2 laser has proved to be an effective method of treatment for patients with several types of oral lesions, including early squamous cell carcinoma.
Laser surgery of oral premalignant disorders is an effective tool in a complete management strategy which includes careful clinical follow-up, patient education to eliminate risk factors, reporting and biopsying of suspicious lesions and any other significant lesions. However, in a number of patients, recurrence and progression to malignancy remains a risk. CO2 laser resection has become the preferred treatment for small oral and oropharyngeal carcinomas. Laser resection does not require reconstructive surgery. There is minimal scarring and thus, optimum functional results can be expected.
New and improved applications of laser surgery in the treatment of oral and maxillofacial/head and neck disorders are being explored. As more surgeons become experienced in the use of lasers and as our knowledge of the capabilities and advantages of this tool expands, lasers may play a significant role in the management of different pathologies.
Several factors have been identified to affect morbidity and mortality in oral cancer patients. The time taken to process a resected cancer specimen in a patient presenting with primary or recurrent disease can be of interest as delay can affect earlier interventions post-surgery. We looked at this variable in a group of 168 consecutive oral cancer patients and assessed its relationship to mortality from the disease at 3 and 5 years. It is expected that delay in pathological processing time of surgical specimens acquired from patients with recurrent disease may increase or contribute to the increased rate of mortality. Further high evidence-based studies are required to confirm this.
The use of tobacco is known to increase the incidence of developing oral cancer by 6 times, while the additive effect of drinking alcohol further increases the risk leading to higher rate of morbidity and mortality. In this short communication, we prospectively assessed the effect of tobacco smoking and alcohol drinking in oral cancer patients on the overall mortality from the disease, as well as the effect of smoking and drinking reduction/cessation at time of diagnosis on mortality in the same group.
Materials and methods
A cohort, involved 67 male patients who were diagnosed with oral squamous cell carcinoma, was included in this study. The smoking and drinking habits of this group were recorded, in addition to reduction/cessation after diagnosis with the disease. Comparisons were made to disease mortality at 3 and 5 years.
Follow-up resulted in a 3-year survival of 46.8% and a 5-year survival of 40.4%. Reduction of tobacco smoking and smoking cessation led to a significant reduction in mortality at 3 (P < 0.001) and 5 (P < 0.001) years. Reduction in drinking alcohol and drinking cessation led to a significant reduction in mortality at 3 (P < 0.001) and 5 (P < 0.001) years.
Chronic smoking and drinking does have an adverse effect on patients with oral cancer leading to increased mortality from cancer-related causes. Reduction/cessation of these habits tends to significantly reduce mortality in this group of patients. Smoking and drinking cessation counseling should be provided to all newly diagnosed oral cancer patients.
Accurate clinical staging of oral squamous cell cancer can be quite difficult to achieve especially if nodal involvement is identified. Radiologically-assisted clinical staging is more accurate and informs the clinician of loco-regional and distant metastasis.
In this study, we compared clinical TNM (cTNM) staging (not including ultrasonography) to pathological TNM (pTNM) staging in 245 patients presenting with carcinoma of the oral cavity and the oro-pharyngeal region. Tumour size differences and nodal involvement were highlighted. US reports of the neck were then added to the clinical staging and results compared.
Tumour size was clinically underestimated in 4 T1, 2 T2 and 2 T3 oral diseases. Also 20 patients that were reported as nodal disease free had histological proven N1 or N2 nodal involvement; while 3 patients with cTNM showing N1 disease had histologically proven N2 disease.
Overall the agreement between the 2 systems per 1 site was 86.6% (Kappa agreement = 0.80), per 2 sites 90.0% (Kappa agreement = 0.68) and per 3 sites 90.5% (Kappa agreement 0.62).
An accurate clinical staging is of an utmost importance. It is the corner stone in which the surgical team build the surgical treatment plan and decide whether an adjuvant therapy is required to deal with any possible problem that might arise. The failure to achieve an accurate staging may lead to incomplete surgical planning and hence unforeseen problems that may adversely affect the patient's survival.
There is a paucity of publications detailing how to deal with the difficult thyroid cancer. When compared to other cancers, it is relatively rare with several histopathological subtypes which run differing clinical courses and respond to different therapies. It is a condition predominately treated by specifically trained General and now ENT surgeons who already have a thorough knowledge of vocal fold assessment and rehabilitation as well as emergency airways management both to avoid and treat common complications should they occur.
Good surgery involves a team effort to produce good results consistently. All members of the team are essential to quality service delivery. Communication with the team and the patient is paramount. We describe our approach to the difficult thyroid.
Vascuologenesis is the de novo establishment of blood vessels and vascular networks from mesoderm-derived endothelial cell precursors (angioblasts). Recently a novel mechanism, by which some genetically deregulated and aggressive tumour cells generate "micro-vascular" channels without the participation of endothelial cells and independent of angiogenesis, has been proposed. This has been termed "vasculogenic mimicry" and has implications beyond angiogenesis and adds another layer of complexity to the current concept for the generation of tumour micro-circulation. We suggest this is common phenomenon in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) cell lines and other aggressive tumour cell lines. We present experimental evidence of vasculogenic mimicry in HNSCC cell lines and compare them with other tumours and a positive control vascular cell line.
Materials and methods
The cell lines used were HUVEC, HN 2a, 2b (primary and metastatic tongue base squamous carcinoma cell line), HCT116 (colonic carcinoma cell line) and DU145 (prostate carcinoma cell line).
Pilot experiments were undertaken to assess growth of a bank of tumour cell lines on (growth factor reduced) matrigel (Sigma) with standard media (DMEM with 10% Fetal Calf Serum).
A functional growth assay was performed by preparing the appropriate cell suspension in serum free medium plated onto either bare plastic or a well pre-coated with growth factor reduced type 4 collagen analogues.
Phase contrast photomicrographs were taken at 4 hours and 24 hours. Image analysis was performed; particular features of interest were two dimensional area (surrogate of growth and migration), branch points and end point measurements (surrogate of intercellular complexity).
There were observable differences in growth of the cells on laboratory plastic and collagen matrix. Tumour cells formed capillary like networks similar to HUVEC cells. Metastatic HNSCC cells lines were found to have vasculogenic properties similar to HUVEC cell lines when compared to cell lines from their corresponding primary tumour. The endothelial growth factor antibodies used did not inhibit or stimulate cell growth when compared to control but did discourage vascular mimicry. Other tumour cell lines also displayed this property.
Tumour "vasculogenic mimicry" must still be regarded as a controversial issue whose existence is not proven. The clinical importance of this phenomenon however, is that it does explain the lack of complete efficacy of current anti-angiogenic treatments due to the added layer of complexity. It provides a feasible mechanism of early tumour vascular supply which can co-exist and incorporate with later angiogenic mechanisms. We suggest that "vasculogenic mimicry" maybe a common neoplastic phenomena which appears to also be dictated by the cells micro-environment. Its existence also suggests a further process that of the development of tumour mosaic vessels as the neo-vasculature integrates with the existing endothelial lined systems.
Controlling tumour margins in head and neck surgery is of the utmost importance in preventing loco-regional spread and distant metastasis, which will ultimately lead to a significant reduction in morbidity and mortality. We comment on the surgical margins in photodynamic therapy and photochemical internalization.
Traditionally, in the United Kingdom and Europe, the surgeon was generally not troubled by litigation from patients presenting as elective as well as emergency cases, but this aspect of custom has changed. Litigation by patients now significantly affects surgical practice and vicarious liability often affects hospitals. We discuss some fundamental legal definitions, a must to know for a surgeon, and highlight some interesting cases.
We previously reported on the outcome of 21 patients with stage IV advanced and/or recurrent tongue base carcinoma subjected to mTHPC-PDT. We continue to develop on the previous work by treating more patients with this unforgiving disease. PDT has shown to be a very successful minimally-invasive surgical tool in managing this pathology. Tumour-associated symptoms were reduced significantly. The overall morbidity and mortality following PDT, in this group of patients, were far less when compared with other conventional modalities.
Traditionally, in the United Kingdom and Europe the surgeon was generally not troubled by litigation from patients presenting as elective as well as emergency cases, but this aspect of custom has changed. Litigation by patients now significantly affects surgical practice and vicarious liability often affects hospitals. We discuss some fundamental legal definitions, a must to know for a surgeon, and highlight some interesting cases.
While histopathology of excised tissue remains the gold standard for diagnosis, several new, non-invasive diagnostic techniques are being developed. They rely on physical and biochemical changes that precede and mirror malignant change within tissue. The basic principle involves simple optical techniques of tissue interrogation. Their accuracy, expressed as sensitivity and specificity, are reported in a number of studies suggests that they have a potential for cost effective, real-time, in situ diagnosis.
We review the Third Scientific Meeting of the Head and Neck Optical Diagnostics Society held in Congress Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria on the 11th May 2011. For the first time the HNODS Annual Scientific Meeting was held in association with the International Photodynamic Association (IPA) and the European Platform for Photodynamic Medicine (EPPM). The aim was to enhance the interdisciplinary aspects of optical diagnostics and other photodynamic applications. The meeting included 2 sections: oral communication sessions running in parallel to the IPA programme and poster presentation sessions combined with the IPA and EPPM posters sessions.
Nutrition is crucial to successful outcomes in peri-operative head and neck cancer patients. Nasogastric feeding tubes are an accepted and safe method of providing enteral nutrition in the short-term. Many methods have been advocated for successfully inserting and securing nasogastric tubes and each practitioner will have his or her preferred technique.
To confirm the effectiveness of using gel caps combined with the flexible nasendoscope for the insertion of nasogastric feeding tubes in head and neck cancer patients following failure of traditional methods.
Thirty-five consecutive patients requiring nasogastric feeding tubes were included in this comparative audit. All had failed traditional insertion methods after 2 attempts and were therefore eligible for inclusion. Patients were randomised to undergo attempted insertion with the flexible nasendoscope with or without the use of a gel cap (both methods have been previously described).
Primary outcome measures showed no significant difference between the two techniques.
We found the methodology to be of no greater benefit to our patients when compared to our alternative current practice for failed blind nasogastric tube insertion. We retain this methodology in our armamentarium for difficult circumstances but have continued with our standard practice for most patients needing nasogastric tube placement.
The complete surgical removal of disease is a desirable outcome particularly in oncology. Unfortunately much disease is microscopic and difficult to detect causing a liability to recurrence and worsened overall prognosis with attendant costs in terms of morbidity and mortality. It is hoped that by advances in optical diagnostic technology we could better define our surgical margin and so increase the rate of truly negative margins on the one hand and on the other hand to take out only the necessary amount of tissue and leave more unaffected non-diseased areas so preserving function of vital structures. The task has not been easy but progress is being made as exemplified by the presentations at the 2nd Scientific Meeting of the Head and Neck Optical Diagnostics Society (HNODS) in San Francisco in January 2010. We review the salient advances in the field and propose further directions of investigation.
Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP) is a rare cutaneous neoplasm associated with a high cure rate. We present a case of aggressive DFSP with fibrosarcomatous areas in the head and neck. A 28-year-old Mediterranean female presented with a 45-day history of rapidly growing cutaneous lesion of the face. Surgical biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of DFSP. Subsequently, the patient underwent wide local surgical resection, followed by reconstruction. Histopathology report revealed fibrosarcomatous transformation and the patient underwent adjuvant radiotherapy. The patient continues to be disease free at the 35-month follow-up.
Although DFSP behave as non-aggressive malignancy, surgery with complete removal of the affected area is the intervention of choice. Moreover, adjuvant treatment and follow-up of the patient is essential in order to prevent recurrence.