By Mark Gaughan
Buffalo Bills great Jim Kelly has successful surgery today on cancer in his upper-jaw bone, doctors at Erie County Medical Center reported in a statement.
"At Mr. Kelly's request, we thank everyone for their concern and well wishes for him and his family. Today, Mr. Kelly underwent a partial maxillectomy to remove a squamous-cell carcinoma of the upper gingival caused be chronic irritation at the gum site. He underwent reconstruction with a dental obturator.
"The surgery went very well. We are hopeful for and anticipate a speedy recovery and successful outcome. Mr. Kelly is recovering comfortably at this time. He is in the capable care of the great nurses and staff here at ECMC. He will remain here at the hospital until he feels comfortable to go home.”
The statement came from Dr. Thom R. Loree, clinical director of ECMC's head and neck surgery department, along with Dr. Maureen Sullivan and Dr. Mark S. Burke.
Kelly announced Monday he had been diagnosed with the cancer about two weeks ago. He had been having pain in his jaw since about December. In March he had surgery to remove a cyst about the size of a nickel from his gums and nasal cavity.
A glossary of terms from the ECMC statement ...
Partial maxillectomy: Removal of a portion of the upper jaw, commonly including bone, some roof of the mouth and teeth.
Upper gingival: Upper gums.
Dental obturator: A prosthetic device that replaces structural components removed from the hard palate. It seals gaps and holds skin grafts in place and will allow the patient to swallow and speak after recovery.