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Abstract

The prime objective of oral cavity reconstruction is restoration of function, which must be carefully studied while evaluating the success of any reconstructive endeavour. We devised a unique comprehensive test series for the purpose that is suitable for use in routine follow-ups, and capable of providing objective documentation. Functional assessment included evaluation of general health, food intake, oral competence, mastication, speech, swallowing, tongue mobility, and shoulder–neck function. Fifty patients who had had surgery were analyzed and their functional scores compared with those of 10 normal volunteers. The extent of mandibular resection and the magnitude of soft tissue excision significantly affected overall scores of function. Oral competence, as reflected by the water holding test (WHT), was uniformly impaired in the 50 patients, and in dentate individuals, the quality of bolus provided good correlation with all other functional scores. Among reconstructive modalities employed here, the bi-paddled pectoralis major flap produced the best overall scores.