Introduction to the Special Issue on the Head and Neck


  • Alan Richards

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Otolaryngology, University of Nebraska, Omaha, Nebraska
    2. Methodist Hospital, Cancer Center, Omaha, Nebraska
    • Department of Otolaryngology, University of Nebraska, and Methodist Hospital, Cancer Center, Omaha, Nebraska, USA
    Search for more papers by this author

Cancers of the head and neck form in one of the most visible parts of the human body. Consequently, the effects both of the destruction by the cancer and also the treatment thereof will be noticed by the patient and others with whom he or she might come in contact.

As the anatomy of the head and neck is complicated (as recognized by William Halsted), surgery in this area is challenging. It was not until the latter part of the 19th century that Billroth performed the first laryngectomy and that Kocher made thyroidectomy feasible. Near this time, George Crile demonstrated the removal of malignant neck lymph nodes. These procedures have nowadays become highly refined so that mortality and morbidity are minimized. Included in this Special Issue of Clinical Anatomy are modern techniques for dealing with such tumors.

Additionally (and as recently as 30 years ago), head and neck cancers were being resected by competent surgeons, but rehabilitation of the patient was almost nonexistent as these patients had very noticeable defects and often has functional loss. Therefore, this Special Issue also details modern reconstruction techniques, which include endoscopic and robotic methods. Such methods bring a new perspective to the anatomy of the region. These are truly exciting times! 

Figure  .