My child had a malignant tumor removed from his left cheek and then was treated with 6 weeks of radiation. The radiation stopped the growth on that side of his face. Although the resulting asymmetry is not severe, he is not yet 12 and it is becoming more pronounced every year. Is there a way to correct it without surgery? Should we do something now or wait until he is full grown?
Would You Correct Asymmetry in the Face of an 11-year-old Boy Who Had a Tumor Now and by What Method? (photo)
Doctor Answers (2)
Dear Concerned Parent
Dear Concerned Parent:
This is a very complicated issue! First, let me say that I'm happy that he's doing well from his initial treatment. Two questions for you. The first is how aggressive was the tumor and how far out from his treatment is he? Typically, within a year of radiation, I would not attempt any contouring - you are right, it will continue to change!
Second is the type of treatment the can be offered. You see, he's been radiated, so typical ways of dealing with this are thrown out the window! Fillers can provide a temporary solution, but will never be as effective as a more permanent solution, such as Fat. But fat in the midst of a radiated field will also not be as effective. You can provide vascularized tissue into the cheek. This works great, but you will need to take it from elsewhere. (So you'll have to rob from Peter to pay Paul!)
My advice - wait a few years. Don't rush into anything just yet. Let his body settle from the treatment (and yes, there are ways to correct for this!) but don't rush in too early on.
Hope this helps!
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.