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Objective assessment of speech after surgical treatment for oral cancer: Experience from 196 selected cases

Nicoletti, G. and Soutar, D.S. and Jackson, M.S. and Wrench, A.A. and Robertson, G. and Robertson, C. (2004) Objective assessment of speech after surgical treatment for oral cancer: Experience from 196 selected cases. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 113 (1). pp. 114-125. ISSN 0032-1052

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Abstract

In 1992, a personal computer-based workstation for speech-digitized analysis was developed in conjunction with Canniesburn Hospital and Edinburgh University to measure all dispersion in speech after surgery for oral cancer. The voices of 196 patients with tumor of the oral cavity were recorded preoperatively and postoperatively. Surgical resection was carefully mapped out on standard diagrams of the oral cavity. Patients' recordings were assessed for conversational understandability by two referees. Patients also self-scored their speech using the Functional Intraoral Glasgow Scale self-questionnaire. Many patients had similar if not identical resections; therefore, 12 homogeneous groups were identified. Functional outcome for speech was correlated with the site and size of resected tissue and with the reconstruction modalities. The original association of an objective, computer-based tool and two subjective assessment tools proved to be the most suitable investigation method for speech. The general pattern was for consistently better speech quality with smaller excisions. The reconstruction modalities did not seem to influence the overall speech quality, as it was related mainly to the extent of surgical demolition. The authors present a detailed correlation between site and size of excision and functional outcome using color multiple-view diagrams for immediate appreciation. Positive and negative prognostic factors were identified in surgery for oral cancer.