Oil on canvas 
Painting size: 14×11″ 
Painting by Mark Gilbert

Edith’s story

Edith was 90 years old with a large squamous cell cancer growing through her lower jaw and the skin of her lip and chin. After long discussions, she opted to have surgery to remove this. After all, as Edith pointed out, she still had plenty of years left ahead of her!

She underwent resection of the front of her lower jaw and chin and the lymph glands in her neck (radical neck dissection). After this her reconstruction was simplified to ensure a shorter operation. Her remaining jaw was held in position with a strong titanium metal plate bent to the correct shape and the skin of her chin was reconstructed with muscle and skin from her chest wall (pectoralis major myocutaneous pedicled flap based on the pectoral artery and vein from the acromiothoracic vessels). The operation took a total of 6 hours and Edith made a miraculous recovery. She lived for a further 2 years without the cancer returning and was able to eat and speak relatively well before dying peacefully at home. This painting shows her immediately at completion of the operation.