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Postoperative taste and smell deficit after upper gastrointestinal cancer surgery - An unreported complication

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Michael Griffin


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Background and Objectives: Patients undergoing upper gastrointestinal cancer surgery were noted to suffer loss of taste and/or smell, a previously unreported problem. Our aim was to investigate the extent of this phenomenon, quantify recovery time, and identify potentially associated factors. Methods: In this retrospective study, a postal questionnaire was sent to all patients still alive after oesophagectomy or gastrectomy, with a minimum 1-year follow-up and no clinical or radiological evidence of recurrence. Data were analysed for prevalence of deficit in relation to operation, age, sex, respiratory complications, and disease stage. Results: A total of 109/119 (92%) patients completed the questionnaire: 50 gastrectornies and 69 oesophagectomies. Ten patients were excluded with prior sensory deficit. Overall, 45/99 patients (45%) suffered deficit (M:F = 1.6:1). No association was found with type of surgery: deficits for subtotal gastrectomy, total gastrectomy, and oesophagectomy were 44, 46 and 46% respectively (chi(2) = 0.355, 2 df P > 0.5). No, parameter was associated, and full recovery occurred in 30 patients (67%) within other a mean of 6 months. Conclusions: Loss of taste and smell occurs in nearly one-half of all cases after upper gastrointestinal surgery. The pathophysiology is unknown, but it resolves in most patients within 6-12 months. This complication should be discussed as part of informed consent for patients undergoing oesophagogastric cancer surgery. (C) 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Harris AM, Griffin SM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Surgical Oncology

Year: 2003

Volume: 82

Issue: 3

Pages: 147-150

ISSN (print): 0022-4790

ISSN (electronic): 1096-9098

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


DOI: 10.1002/jso.10199


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