The University Teaching Hospital is situated in the Zambian capital, Lusaka. In a 15-year period (1979 to 1993), 81 child patients with cancrum oris were admitted to the pediatric plastic surgery unit. There were 29 boys and 52 girls, of whom 58 were below 3 years of age. The majority of them were from certain provinces where the population is comparatively much lower than in other provinces of Zambia. The dietary habits in cancrum orisprone provinces are quite different than those of other provinces of Zambia.
Of 81 patients, 3 refused surgery, 11 died during early medical treatment, and 12 died following early minor surgery. A total of 55 patients had reconstructive surgery by one of the authors (Nath). Problems encountered during management, such as anesthesia, trismus, and choice of appropriate flaps, are discussed in this paper. The implication of human immunodeficiency virus is also addressed. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 102: 350, 1998.)