Purpose: To evaluate the effect of implant-based dental rehabilitation (IDR) on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in head and neck cancer (HNC) patients after reconstruction with a free vascularized fibula flap (FFF). Methods: Eligible patients were identified by retrospectively reviewing the medical records of patients treated in Amsterdam UMC-VUmc. HRQoL data were used from OncoQuest, a hospital-based system to collect patient-reported outcome measures in routine care. Data were used of the EORTC QLQ-C30 and QLQ-H&N 35 before FFF reconstruction (T0) and after completing IDR (T1). Data were statistically analysed with the chi-square test, independent samples t test and linear mixed models. Results: Out of 96 patients with maxillofacial FFF reconstruction between January 2006 and October 2017, 57 patients (19 with and 38 without IDR) had HRQoL data at T0 and T1. In the cross-sectional analysis, patients with IDR scored significantly better at T0 and T1 on several EORTC domains compared to the patients without IDR. Weight loss was significantly different in the within-subject analysis between T0 and T1 for patients with IDR (p = 0.011). However, there were no significant differences in the mean changes of all the EORTC QLQ-C30 and EORTC QLQ-H&N35 scores between the defined timepoints for patients with IDR compared to those without. Conclusions: In this study, no differences were found in the course of HRQoL in HNC patients who had undergone IDR after maxillofacial FFF reconstruction, compared to those who had not. Patients should be preoperatively informed to have realistic expectations regarding the outcome of IDR.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5411-5420
Number of pages10
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number6
Early online date17 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Dental implants
  • Fibula free flap
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Quality of life
  • Rehabilitation

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