Cancers and benign conditions can be treated quickly and effectively by our surgical team

Abnormalities in the face, neck and jaws, referred to as oral and maxillofacial pathology have the potential to be cancerous and should be examined as soon as they are noticed. These abnormalities may arise for a number of different reasons but are most commonly due to congenital conditions, infection, soft-tissue growths and autoimmune conditions.

Detecting these conditions early is the most important thing, as cancerous growths can be very dangerous, especially when not diagnosed early.

The difference between cancerous and benign

Essentially the difference between cancerous (malignant) and benign conditions is that whereas cancerous abnormalities will invade surrounding tissue and spread to other areas of the body, benign abnormalities will not. Although all abnormalities can be dangerous, cancerous abnormalities that spread to other areas of the body must be removed as soon as possible as to prevent further infection.


In order to correctly diagnose your condition, a biopsy may be required. In this instance, a biopsy may be performed under local anaesthetic as to ensure you are comfortable. There will be a period between your biopsy and when you receive your results. Upon receiving your results, your surgeon will discuss with you the next steps in you treatment process.

In many cases, you may require radio imaging for a precise diagnosis. This may include a CT Scan, ultrasound, or MRI scan.

The procedure

There are different types of surgery specific to different types of cancer, these include:

  • Primary tumour resection – This is the removal of an entire tumour and the surrounding tissue, which can be done through a biopsy and in larger cases, may need to be done through surgery.
  • Maxillectomy – The removal of the tumour, part of the hard palate and in some cases, areas of bone.
  • Mandibulectomy – Partial removal of the lower jaw
  • Laryngectomy – Removal of a large tumour of the tongue or oropharynx, if it extends to the larynx (voice box).
  • Neck dissection – Only necessary if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the neck. The lymph nodes may also need to be removed.
  • Radiation therapy – The use of high-energy rays to damage the cancer cells. This method of treatment assists in minimising the spread of the cancer. This is usually done in conjunction with surgery.
  • Chemotherapy – Medication that affects cancer cells and has the ability to interfere with cancers cell replication. It can be used in combination with both surgery and radiation therapy.


Recovery will depend on the type of procedure performed and whether the condition is malignant or benign. Procedures that are performed in the mouth and jaw may affect the types of foods you can eat. Your surgeon will provide a guideline on what you can and can’t eat during recovery. In cases where there is swelling or bruising, a cold pack can be used on the area and follow-up appointments should be attended to ensure effective recovery.

Depending on the area operated on, your surgeon may refer you to another specialist or practitioner to aid in recovery. This may include a speech therapist or physiotherapist.

Cancerous & benign conditions at OMFS Melbourne

If you have been referred for cancerous or benign conditions, fill out our patient registration form here!