Sarcoma of the head and neck 


Mr Nicholas Kalavrezos, Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Head and Neck Surgeon

Nicholas Kalavrezos is a head and neck reconstructive surgeon and the lead clinician in the Head and Neck Centre at UCLH with a background in oral and maxillo-facial surgery. Mr Kalavrezos is also the lead head and neck sarcoma surgeon for the London Sarcoma Service. His clinical practice includes ablative and reconstructive surgery for the head and neck with a special interest in bone sarcomas and functional outcomes following reconstructive surgery. His clinical practice also includes surgical treatment of salivary gland tumours as well as thyroid surgery.

Mr Kalavrezos’ research interests include applications of “tissue engineering” in head and neck reconstruction. He is a founding member of the “Centre for Reconstructive Surgery” at University College London (UCL) where he also holds a senior lecturer post. He is also a member of the “Face Transplant Group” based at the Royal Free Hospital aiming to perform the first face transplant in the UK. He has joint research projects in the Nanotechnology Lab of UCL on “tissue engineered bio-scaffolding” aiming to replace defects of the head and neck (i.e. nose and ears) with tissue-engineered based micro-vascular flap reconstruction.

Nicholas lectures regularly at national and international meetings and holds the position of the secretary general on the Executive Board of the European Association for Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery.

Full consultant profile

  • Bone sarcomas

    The most common types of bone sarcomas are osteosarcoma, Ewing's sarcoma, chondrosarcoma and spindle cell sarcoma.

    Bone sarcomas are particularly aggressive tumours that are usually treated with a combination of surgery and chemotherapy. Modern surgery of the head and neck aims for two goals:

    1. To completely remove the tumour
    2. To preserve or to restore function and appearance of the patient. This is usually done by replacing the affected bone and soft tissue with similar tissues from other parts of the body aiming to replace “like with like”.
  • Soft tissue sarcomas

    Soft tissue sarcomas account for about 1% of all malignant tumours. The cause of these tumours is not known, although they may be linked with previous radiotherapy, some toxins, and very rarely may be hereditary. They can affect any age group, although are more common in people of middle-age and the elderly, and less common in younger age groups.

    Only 5% of the overall soft tissue sarcomas arise in the head and neck area. Patients with soft tissue sarcoma usually present with a lump and therefore any increasing lump over 5cm should be seen in a Sarcoma Centre.

    Newly diagnosed soft tissue sarcomas are usually treated with surgery, sometimes followed by radiotherapy. Chemotherapy may also be used to treat tumours that have not spread elsewhere, although this is less common. Radiotherapy is sometimes used after surgery or instead of surgery if an operation is not possible.

The head and neck sarcoma team work closely with colleagues from the London Sarcoma Service (one of the largest sarcoma services in Europe run by UCLH and The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital). Together they discuss patients with sarcoma of the head and neck at the head and neck multidisciplinary team (MDT) meeting. This meeting involves specialists from many clinical disciplines who review your individual case and offer a consensus recommendation for treatment.