The Chewing of Betel Quid and Oral Submucous Fibrosis and Anesthesia

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Oral submucous fibrosis (OSMF) is a premalignant lesion of the buccal mucosa caused by chewing betel quid. It results in progressive inability to open the mouth. OSMF causes difficulty in laryngoscopy and intubation of the trachea. Patients with OSMF require anesthesia for trismus correction, resection, and reconstructive (oncoplastic) surgery for coexisting oral malignancies or other unrelated surgeries. Our review of the anesthetics of 44 patients with oral malignancies suggested that 8 had OSMF. The preoperative airway assessment, including the Mallampati score and the clinical Tumor Node Metastasis stage, were useful in predicting the need for fiberoptic intubation. Patients with oral malignancies and OSMF had increased requirement for fiberoptic endotracheal intubations (62.5%) compared with those without OSMF (44.4%). Three different techniques of airway management (tracheal intubation after direct laryngoscopy, fiberoptic tracheal intubation, and tracheostomy) in four patients with OSMF are described. OSMF contributes to the development of the malignancy, delays the diagnoses, and complicates the anesthetic management.

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