Dysphagia, trismus and speech impairment following radiation-based treatment for advanced stage oropharyngeal carcinoma: a one-year prospective evaluation.



The objective was to assess swallowing, mouth opening and speech function during the first year after radiation-based treatment (RT(+)) after introduction of a dedicated preventive rehabilitation program for stage III-IV oropharyngeal carcinoma (OPC).


Swallowing, mouth opening and speech function were collected before and at six- and twelve-month follow-up after RT(+) for OPC as part of ongoing prospective assessments by speech-language pathologists .


Despite successful implementation, a substantial proportion of patients still experience functional limitations after RT(+) for OPC, suggesting room for improvement of the current rehabilitation program. Pretreatment sarcopenia seems associated with worse functional outcomes and might be a relevant new target for rehabilitation strategies.


Objective and patient-perceived function deteriorated until 6 months and improved until 12 months after treatment, but did not return to baseline levels with 25%, 20% and 58% of the patients with objective dysphagia, trismus and speech problems, respectively. Feeding tube dependency and pneumonia prevalence was low.

More about this publication

European archives of oto-rhino-laryngology : official journal of the European Federation of Oto-Rhino-Laryngological Societies (EUFOS) : affiliated with the German Society for Oto-Rhino-Laryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
  • Volume 279
  • Issue nr. 2
  • Pages 1003-1027
  • Publication date 01-02-2022

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