Hands-on Head & Neck Cadaver Dissection and Reconstruction

Cancer is a menace of the 21st century. Head and neck cancers constitute a third of all cancer burden in India and is the commonest cancer in males in India. In contrast to west, Head and neck constitute 25-30 % of all cancers in India as opposed to 3-4% in west. The gross variation in incidence is predominantly attributed to rampant use of tobacco and areca nut in India.

While western countries are seeing a progressive decline in tobacco related cancer due to decreased consumption, India is not showing any such decline. Furthermore head and neck cancer in India present at a much younger age and is associated with potentially malignant sub mucous fibrosis. There has been a paradigm shift in the management of head and neck cancer in the last decade with newer advancements in diagnostics, and formulation of standard treatment guidelines.

The biggest challenge we face is the lack of adequate treating facilities and lack of trained manpower in our country. One of the main thrust areas for betterment of care of head and neck cancer patients is to train the future surgeons in performing cancer operations in the complex area of head and neck.

University College of medical sciences and GTB Hospital organized hands on workshop on head and neck cancer and reconstruction from 12-14 October 2017. Workshop was aimed at transfer of surgical skills to young head neck surgeons early in their career. The various issues relating to anatomy, radiology, assessment of cancers and treatment planning were discussed by the renowned guest faculty from India and abroad along with very experienced host faculty of UCMS. Surgical procedures performed in dissection hall were telecast live with two way communication between delegates and operating surgeons. This interactive mode of learning has been proven to the best way to learn the surgical operations.

In the afternoon sessions delegates performed surgical operations on cadavers under the faculty supervision and benefited from direct guidance and interaction with the renowned surgeons from across the country. Day 3 of workshop was dedicated to head and neck reconstruction using free flaps and padicled flaps, which are used after tumor removal. Reconstruction in head and neck cancer patients is essential for cosmetic and functional rehabilitation of patients after surgery. Delegates performed reconstructive procedures and trained in micro vascular surgery by the faculty.

Long term objective of this activity is advancements in the knowledge of Head and neck cancer and up-gradation of available expertise in the field. Very limited number of cadaver dissection facilities are available in the country for postgraduates and young surgeons, which is so essential and building block in training and subsequent advance learning in the specialty of head and neck surgery. One of the main limitations of these skill transfer workshops is availability of human cadavers.

We were fortunate to have been fully supported by Dadhichi Deh Dan Samiti, they provided us with cadavers donated by the families who believe in the donation of mortal remains and betterment of mankind even after they have left for their heavenly abode. We strongly believe in this philosophy and continue to be associated with samiti and noble cause they are associated with in future too.

Dr Vipin Arora (Organisnig Secretary)
Hands-on Head and Neck cadaver dissection and reconstruction workshop
Professor of ENT and Head Neck Surgery
University College of Medical Sciences and GTB Hospital
Dilshad Garden
Delhi 110095