Quality of life has become a major issue in determining the outcome of treatment in head and neck surgery with curative intent. The aim of our study was to determine which factors in the postoperative care, especially shoulder and neck morbidity, are related to quality of life and how these outcomes compared between patients who had undergone surgery and a control group.
We analyzed physical symptoms, psychological symptoms, and social and functional well-being at least 1 year after surgery and evaluated the differences in quality of life between patients who had undergone head and neck surgery and a control group.
Depression scores contributed significantly to all domains of quality of life. Reduced shoulder abduction, shoulder pain, and neck pain are related to several domains of quality of life. The patient group scored significantly worse for social functioning and limitations from physical problems but scored significantly better for bodily pain and health changes.
Depression and shoulder and neck morbidity are important factors in quality of life for patients who have undergone surgery for head and neck cancer. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck26: 839–844, 2004