Original Research

Intelligibility alterations in an oral cancer patient following primary surgery and two reconstructions: A case study

Marlene C. Jacobson
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 30, No 1 | a658 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v30i1.658 | © 2019 Marlene C. Jacobson | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 August 2019 | Published: 31 December 1983

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Marlene C. Jacobson, Department of Speech Therapy and Audiology, Hillbrow Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Intelligibility and perceptual characteristics were examined in a bilingual Zulu/Xhosa-speaking patient following glossectomy and mandibulectomy with primary closure and two subsequent reconstruction using osteomyocutaneous flaps. Changes across a twelve-month period were investigated, using intelligibility tests administered to native speakers, lateral view xeroradiography and fiberoptic investigations. Findings emphasise the need for reconstructive surgery to strive for preservation of articulator mobility, relationships between articulators and the positioning of vocal tract constrictions. The possibility of atrophic changes deleterious to speech and a more influential role for the speech therapist are discussed.


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