Head & Neck Surgical Oncology

Doctor looking at a patient's CT scan

Head & Neck Surgical Oncology

Head and neck tumors include those of the mouth, throat, sinuses, larynx, thyroid, and skull base. Some head and neck tumors are cancerous and must be treated promptly to reduce their chances of spreading (metastasizing) to other organs. Other tumors are benign but can still be serious if they impact nerves or place pressure in the head and neck.

At Columbia Otolaryngology, our patients benefit from the extensive resources and talent available through all divisions of Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Our surgeons work closely with medical and radiation oncologists to customize the best possible plan of therapy for each patient. We provide comprehensive, personal care from diagnosis and treatment through rehabilitation and follow-up.

Our Minimally Invasive Approach

Our surgeons take a minimally invasive approach to head and neck cancer surgery whenever possible. We have pioneered endoscopic techniques for tumor removal that are performed without having to make any external incisions. For example, some early-stage and mid-stage tumors of the tongue base, tonsils, larynx, and pharynx can be removed through the mouth, while some skull base tumors may be removed through the nose. Such approaches reduce the need for tracheostomy or feeding tube after surgery and speed recovery.

Comprehensive Rehabilitation

Because surgery for head and neck cancers can leave blemishes, our reconstructive surgeons have specialized training and exceptional experience in facial reconstructive surgery. Our goal is to provide therapy that is as effective as possible for eradicating the cancer while preserving your appearance and function.

We offer a full range of psychosocial, rehabilitation, and other support services for all patients with head and neck cancers and their families. Dietitians are available to ensure that you receive adequate nutrition during your care. Speech and swallowing therapists provide services when cancer or its treatment have impaired these functions. Dental oncologists treat any dental problems that are the result of head and neck cancer.