Dr. Fred Azimi

Head & Neck Surgery

Head and neck surgery treats a group of benign and cancerous conditions in this anatomical region.

Head and neck surgery requires precision and attention to detail

Head and neck anatomy is very complex which can make surgery in this region challenging. Some common tumours in this region are those of the skin, salivary glands and the thyroid. My passion is performing surgery which requires great precision and attention to detail.

Skin cancer surgery can include a simple excision of a tumour and closure of the defect. In cases where a larger amount of skin is removed there may a need for reconstruction with a skin graft or a local flap which involves moving  surrounding tissue to cover the defect. In more advanced cases of skin cancer, excision of lymph nodes in the neck may be needed. These lymph nodes can exist in different regions of the neck. Sometime these lymph nodes exist in the parotid gland which mean that a parotidectomy (removal of the parotid gland) is requires.

The parotid glands are the largest major salivary glands. Most diseases of the parotid glands are benign and many do not require surgery. However, some conditions require the removal of a growth to obtain a definitive diagnosis or to treat a known tumour. Surgery on parotid glands requires great precision on the part of your surgical team because the facial nerve is nearby. The facial nerve controls your ability to close your eyes, raise your eyebrows, and smile. Preserving the facial nerve is an important priority when removing a parotid gland tumuor. The facial nerve is typically identified and protected during a parotidectomy.

At about the size of a walnut, the submandibular glands are located below the jaw on either side of the neck. Submandibular diseases include benign or cancerous growths, but also conditions such as stone disease. The treatment of these conditions may require removal of the submandibular gland. Like the parotid, surgery in this region requires precision to avoid injury to the surrounding nerves which include those that are involved in movement and sensation of the tongue.  Treatment of submandibular stone disease may involve removal of the whole gland or retrieval of stones from the submandibular duct in the mouth. The location of the stone will dictate which approach is appropriate.