Carbon Dioxide Laser Debulking for Obstructing Endolaryngeal Carcinoma: A 10-Year Experience

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The results of the carbon dioxide (CO2) laser debulking procedure for obstructing endolaryngeal carcinoma were analyzed in terms of efficiency, complications, secondary tracheotomy rate, and peristomal recurrence rate in a series of 50 patients consecutively managed at our department. The CO2 laser was used to reestablish a safe airway without resorting to tracheotomy and without performing a transoral resection. Our series included 42 patients in a pre—definitive treatment group (group 1) and 8 patients in a palliation group (group 2). Complications included death, pneumonia from inhalation, and cutaneous burns in 2 patients, 1 patient, and 1 patient, respectively. Thirty-two percent of patients required a repeat laser treatment to maintain the airway. Overall success rates of 92.8% and 87.5% were achieved in group 1 and group 2 patients, respectively. None of the variables under analysis could predict the success of the CO2 laser debulking procedure. The overall incidences for secondary tracheotomy were 4.7% and 0% in group 1 and group 2 patients, respectively. Peristomal recurrence was not encountered in patients managed with definitive therapy with curative intent.

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