Head and Neck
The Head and Neck Tumor Program at The University of Tennessee Medical Center is a very unique and comprehensive program in the region that provides state of the art surgical and non-surgical management of benign and malignant tumors of the oral cavity, salivary glands, neck, face, and jaws. Led by Eric R. Carlson DMD, MD, the program also provides expert care for patients who have sustained oral/head and neck complications from cancer therapy such as radiation tissue injury, osteonecrosis of the jaws, and other wound healing problems. Primary and secondary reconstructive surgery are emphasized in the care of all patients.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 865.305.9022.
- Head and Neck Reconstruction
- Molecular Imaging and Tracer Development
- Radiation Therapy
- Transoral Robotic Surgery (TORS)
Clinical trials are research studies made available to patients that offer the newest treatments and test new ways to prevent, detect, diagnose and treat diseases. For more information, visit the Clinical Trials page or call 865.305.9773.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
State of the art surgical techniques are available to patients with oral/head and neck cancer including sentinel lymph node mapping and biopsies, time honored neck dissections, jaw resections, and minimally invasive salivary gland surgery. Immediate reconstruction is considered for all patients.
Otolaryngologists are specially trained surgeons qualified to treat benign and malignant tumors of the head and neck including tumors of the mouth, throat, larynx, salivary glands and skin. Otolaryngologists are certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology after graduating college (four years), medical school (four years), and at least five years of residency training (among the most sought after and competitive in the country). Otolaryngology training includes care of head and neck tumors and extensive experience in head and neck surgeries.
All of the otolaryngologists at The University of Tennessee Medical Center are board certified in Otolaryngology and members of the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.
At the University of Tennessee Medical Center, our board certified medical oncologists are experts in the diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of cancer including solid tumors and hematologic malignancies such as leukemia and lymphoma. A medical oncologist is a physician who specializes in the medical treatment of cancer with chemotherapy as well as biological and hormonal therapy. Our medical oncologists work closely with the multidisciplinary oncology team to determine an individualized care plan and to coordinate the patient’s care. Evidence based treatment guidelines from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and other peer-reviewed, nationally recognized organizations are used as guidelines to ensure adherence to clinical practice standards (“best practices”) and to optimize the quality of care and patient outcomes.
A radiation oncologist is a board certified physician who uses radiation to treat cancer. Radiation can be given to cure cancer either alone or in combination with surgery and/or chemotherapy. It may also be given to relieve symptoms. In some cases, radiation may also be used to treat benign tumors. Our highly experienced team of radiation oncologists offer multiple treatment options including 3D conformal radiation, intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT), rotational RapidArc therapy, high and low dose brachytherapy, and stereotactic radiosurgery utilizing the CyberKnife. The radiation oncologists are part of the multidisciplinary team that reviews each patient’s case to determine an individualized treatment plan for each cancer patient.
Theronne Singleterry, MS, CCC-SLP 865.305.9150
The unique nature of cancer surgery of the oral cavity and upper aerodigestive tract with the development of speech and swallowing problems often requires the assistance of speech and language pathology. These services assist patients in resuming acceptable speech and swallowing patterns following cancer treatment. Some patients benefit from preoperative speech and language assessment to properly prepare them for postoperative challenges.
Amy Curran 865.305.8099
The impact of surgery and radiation therapy on the oral cavity and oropharynx is such that the ability to take nutrition may be adversely affected. As such, experienced dietitians provide support of the needs of patients with assessments of nutritional intake during inpatient and outpatient evaluations. Evaluations are available prior to surgery so as to properly prepare the patient and family for postoperative nutritional support.
Highly sophisticated imaging studies interpreted by neuroradiologists are available for our patients with oral/head and neck tumors. These include PET/CT, MRI, CT and angiography. The accurate nature of these imaging studies results in greater precision of surgery and non-surgical therapy of oral/head and neck tumors. Our program emphasizes clinical research protocols involving these imaging studies.
These highly specialized radiologists provide state of the art support to our patients for minimally invasive biopsies of tumors of the neck and embolization of blood vessels surrounding tumors so as to decrease blood supply to a tumor at the time of surgery. Both techniques permit diagnostic and treatment precision thereby improving patient outcomes.
The University of Tennessee Medical Center’s Department of Pathology provides expert surgical pathology services which are critical to the diagnosis and classification of head and neck cancers. An accurate diagnosis involving both gross and microscopic examination of tissue, body fluids and cells is a requisite to determining an individualized treatment plan for each patient. Special tests and molecular markers are also performed by the Pathology Department which provide additional information important to the multidisciplinary team when recommending the most appropriate treatment. The Department of Pathology also offers a second review and opinion of slides and reports from other facilities. Our team of board certified pathologists includes pathology faculty members who specialize in specific cancers and have extensive experience evaluating and accurately characterizing cancerous tissue specimens.
The rehabilitation and reconstruction of patients following tumor surgery requires a functional and cosmetic assessment of patient needs. Prosthetic replacement of eyes, noses, ears, and teeth is able to be performed for full functional and cosmetic rehabilitation of patients following surgery for benign and malignant tumors of the oral/head and neck region. Such replacement distinguishes our tumor program by restoring patient appearance and maintaining quality of life.
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons
The head and neck tumor program emphasizes immediate and secondary reconstructive surgery. Our team of plastic surgeons provide comprehensive and unique reconstructive services to patients including free microvascular flaps so as to optimize function of patients following tumor resection.
The Integrative Healthcare program at The University of Tennessee Medical Center Cancer Institute is designed to provide supportive and integrative therapies for cancer patients and their caregivers during all stages of cancer care from diagnosis, treatment and beyond. More