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Swallowing and Postoperative Radiation

While the extent, type, and location of the surgical resection play a major role in determining swallowing outcomes, the effects of postoperative radiation also may impact swallowing rehabilitation. Irradiated patients have significantly reduced oral and pharyngeal functions including longer oral transit times, increased pharyngeal residue,and reduced cricopharyngeal opening times.[42] Impaired function may be the result of radiation effects such as edema, fibrosis, and reduced salivary flow. Delayed healing and fistula development are more common in radiated tissue.