Primary laryngectomy versus salvage laryngectomy: A comparison of outcomes in the chemoradiation era


Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center


OBJECTIVE: To compare primary total laryngectomy (TL) versus salvage TL and analyze the functional outcomes, complications, recurrence rates, and survival.

STUDY DESIGN: Case series with chart review.

SETTING: Tertiary care center.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Fifteen-year retrospective analysis of 208 patients with laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma treated by TL was completed. Outcome measures included survival, swallowing rehabilitation, speech rehabilitation, complications, and assessment of comorbidity. Survival estimates were analyzed with Kaplan-Meier method, and regression analysis utilized the Cox proportional hazards model.

RESULTS: Alaryngeal speech was not significantly different between primary TL and salvage TL, 68% versus 82% (P = 0.14). Comparing primary and salvage TL, the perioperative complication rate was 33% versus 48% (P = 0.036). Thirty-six percent of primary TL patients had recurrence compared to 26% of salvage patients. Five-year overall survival rates between primary TL and salvage TL were not significantly different (P = 0.68). Comorbidity was an independent predictor of survival.

CONCLUSIONS: Development of a functional voice was not significantly different between salvage and primary TL patients, with a majority achieving alaryngeal speech. Perioperative complications were more prevalent in the salvage TL group. Recurrence and survival are significantly associated with comorbidity status.

Level of evidence: 4 Laryngoscope, 130:2179-2185, 2020.

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