Larynx preservation surgery for advanced posterior pharyngeal wall carcinoma with free flap reconstruction: a critical appraisal.
Bree, R. de
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To report the functional and oncologic results of larynx preservation surgery with free flap reconstruction for posterior pharyngeal wall carcinoma. Retrospective medical chart review. Tertiary care referral center. We present a series of seven patients, who were treated for an advanced stage posterior pharyngeal wall carcinoma between 1995 and 1998. All patients underwent posterior pharyngectomy with larynx preservation via a suprahyoidal approach for carcinoma of the posterior pharyngeal wall, with radial forearm free flap reconstruction. Complications occurred in three patients with grade 3 comorbidity, one of whom suffered flap loss. After a mean follow-up of 48 months, three patients are alive without disease. One patient is alive with a second primary tongue carcinoma. Two patients died of disease, whereas one patient died of another cause. All patients could be decannulated and maintain their voice. Six out of seven patients were able to take oral nutrition, although four patients needed additional PEG-tube feeding. Posterior pharyngectomy with larynx preservation and radial forearm free flap reconstruction is feasible in selected patients, with acceptable functional results and survival. However, the patient must be aware of the risk of chronic aspiration and the possibility of long-term PEG feedings.