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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 7592034, 9 pages
Review Article

Swallowing Disorders after Oral Cavity and Pharyngolaryngeal Surgery and Role of Imaging

1Division of Radiology, European Institute of Oncology, Via Ripamonti 435, Milan, Italy
2Department of Clinical-Surgical, Diagnostic and Pediatric Sciences, University of Pavia and Diagnostic Imaging Unit, National Center of Oncology Hadrontherapy (CNAO) Pavia, Privata Strada Campeggi 55, 27100 Pavia, Italy
3Division of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, European Institute of Oncology, Via Ripamonti 435, Milan, Italy
4School of Radiology, University of Milan, Via Morandi 30, 20097 San Donato Milanese, Italy

Correspondence should be addressed to Caterina Giannitto

Received 28 October 2016; Accepted 16 February 2017; Published 22 March 2017

Academic Editor: Vittorio Miele

Copyright © 2017 Caterina Giannitto et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma is the sixth most common cancer diagnosed worldwide and the eighth most common cause of cancer death. Malignant tumors of the oral cavity, oropharynx, and larynx can be treated by surgical resection or radiotheraphy with or without chemotheraphy and have a profound impact on quality of life functions, including swallowing. When surgery is the chosen treatment modality, the patient may experience swallowing impairment in the oral and pharyngeal phases of deglutition. A videofluoroscopic study of swallow enables the morphodynamics of the pharyngeal-esophageal tract to be accurately examined in patients with prior surgery. These features allow an accurate tracking of the various phases of swallowing in real time, identifying the presence of functional disorders and of complications during the short- and long-term postoperative recovery. The role of imaging is fundamental for the therapist to plan rehabilitation. In this paper, the authors aim to describe the videofluoroscopic study of swallow protocol and related swallowing impairment findings in consideration of different types of surgery.