For this week’s Making the Rounds, we interviewed head & neck cancer surgeon Alexandra Kejner, MD, FACS. Dr. Kejner specializes in head and neck surgical oncology microvascular surgery, and we recently chatted with her about the type of patients she sees, some of the innovative techniques she and her team use and why she treats patients like family.
What type of patients do you see?
I'm one of the head and neck surgical oncology microvascular surgeons here at UK. I primarily work with head and neck cancer patients. That's any cancer basically from the bottom of the brain to the top of the lungs.
What are some of the cutting edge techniques you and your team can do?
Part of my specialty involves transoral robotic surgery for patients who have tumors of the tonsils or the tongue base – as well as what's called microvascular reconstruction.
What that involves is when someone has a large operation for a cancer in the head or neck area - in order to reconstruct those - we actually use tissue from another part of the body, almost like a transplant. We take an artery and a vein, as well as that tissue, and then reconnect it to an artery and a vein in the neck.
Talk us through the patient journey. How long will you be with these patients, and what is your biggest focus?
I will see people for at least five years. They’re family once they come in the door, even if they decide that they want to get treatment somewhere else. I still will try and check in on them every now and again, if possible. We want to just make sure that, if something were to happen to them, and they need to come in, we know what's going on with them.
The head and neck areas are really integral in speech, breathing and eating and until you can't eat in public or eat with family, you don't realize how much of a social aspect of life that is.
That's one of our biggest focuses: when a person comes in with a tongue or throat cancer, the first thing we look at is: what is our cancer plan? But then: what is our long-term function plan as well.
Watch our full interview with Dr. Kejner.
This content was produced by UK HealthCare Brand Strategy.