Advanced laryngeal cancers frequently require total laryngectomy (TL). Some of these cancers, however, are suitable for near-total laryngectomy (NTL). We review our experience with NTL over a 14-year period and compare the functional results with those obtained over the same period using TL followed by tracheoesophageal puncture (TEP). One particular interest was the results achieved when surgery was preceded or followed by radiation therapy. From January 1980 through December 1994, 22 patients underwent NTL. The mean age of the 19 men (86.4%) and 3 women (13.6%) was 61.1 ± 9.9 years. Follow- up ranged from 4 to 109 months, with a mean of 26.5 months. The local control rate was 90.9% (i.e., 20 of the 22 patients). Over the same time period, 11 TEPs were performed in 7 men (63.6%) and 4 women (36.4%) who had a mean age of 60.4 ± 7.2 years. Compared with the TEP group, the patients in the NTL group had higher mean scores for swallowing, aspiration, and voice quality evaluations, although the differences were not statistically significant. Notably, 21 of 22 patients (95.5%) received preoperative or postoperative radiotherapy. Complications in the NTL group included aspiration, dilated shunt appendix, and inadequate tracheopharyngeal shunt function. Slight modifications of the NTL technique, including routine entrance into the vallecula in uninvolved larynges, the use of contralateral pyriform mucosa flaps, and the performance of an H-flap tracheostomy are described. The NTL is a sound oncologic procedure for tumors causing vocal cord fixation, and it can be successful even when postoperative radiotherapy is administered. The quality of speech, the ease of swallowing, and the incidence of aspiration are similar to those in patients who have had a TEP following TL.
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