Paperwork and, oh yes, more tests

UPDATE: SSG stands for split skin graft.

The hospital paperwork arrived today from Dr P’s office.  I do find my oral surgeon’s manner of information delivery rather unusual.

It turns out the surgery will be:

Left mandibulectomy (removal of my left mandible, the lower jaw bone over which the tumour is growing)

Fibula flap (removal of my fibula bone, artery, vein and muscle to fashion a new jaw bone)

Upper neck dissection (nice, they need to get in)

Tracheostomy (hole in my throat directly to my trachea so I can breathe without my mouth and nose, needed because of post-surgery swelling), and

SSG (not the foggiest idea – anyone?).

Dr P has also made a few scrawls under ‘pathology tests requested’.  It took a bit of trial, error and googling, but these seem to be:

FBC (full blood count, ooh blood test)

SMAC-20 (chemistry screen to check various chemicals in the blood, ooh another blood test)

ECG (electrocardiogram, to check electrical activity in the heart), and

CXR (chest x-ray).

And here I thought I was filling in some routine paperwork.  When will I have these tests, I wonder?

The consent form Dr P signed also said he had explained to me my condition, alternative treatments available, as well as the nature, purpose, likely results, and material risks of the operation.  I should add those points to my list of questions, I thought.

I popped in a little post-it note to J, Dr P’s assistant, asking her to schedule us for another consultation with Dr P before 1 August.

Any questions you think I should add to the list?  Contributions gratefully accepted.

UPDATE: I have started a new page with questions that I plan to ask my surgeons before 1 August (still to be confirmed as surgery date).



  1. SSG is probably referring to Stibogluconate and this is used to stop growth of tumours if I am not mistaken. Its use for this purpose is relatively new so you will need to ask your doctor for more info about this and its exact purpose in your treatment.

    It seems to me that you have to do an awful lot of work and paperwork yourself and be on top of things yourself to make sure all the right people are talking to each other. I guess my recent post shows there is a good reason for doing this and that I should probably have done so myself.

    Anyway, hope things are going well on the organising surgery front. I am sort of planning to come to Australia in a few months so I’ll drop by to come and feed you a nice hand made strawberry smoothie 🙂

  2. Noble Note says:

    SSG – one option is Split Skin Graft (a possibility which you have no doubt Googled, as of course did I). But do we know if this is required? Add to list of questions, clearly (and SSG may mean something else entirely).

  3. I go for the skin graft actually. Seeing as the other things on that list are surgical interventions as well, that seems much more plausible.

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