Surgical treatment and clinical course of patients with hypopharyngeal carcinoma

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In the period between 1 January 1978 and 1 January 2004, 85 patients with hypopharyngeal squamocellular carcinoma were admitted at the Department of Esophagogastric Surgery in Belgrade. Among them, only 46 patients (54.1%) had radical surgical en-block resection and functional neck dissection, and they were included into an historical cohort study. In 40 patients a pharyngolaryngoesophagectomy was performed using for reconstruction, stomach tissue in 29 and colon tissue in 11 patients. Since 1996, in six patients with localized hypopharyngeal carcinoma pharyngolaryngectomy was performed with resection of cervical esophagus and free jejunal graft interposition. The overall incidence of morbidity was 50.0% and the overall mortality rate was 13.0% (6 patients). Mean hospital stay was 35 days (range, 18–78 days). The median survival of patients was 26 months, and overall 5-year survival rate was 26.5%. At present, surgery seems to be the appropriate therapeutic choice for patients with advanced hypopharyngeal carcinoma, providing a definitive palliation of dysphagia and relatively good long-term survival. At our Institution, after pharyngolaryngoesophagectomy, reconstructive method of choice is gastric ‘pull-up’, and the colon is used only when stomach tissue is not available, that is, previous gastric resections, inappropriate blood supply, synchronous gastric carcinoma and so on. Recently, pharyngolaryngectomy and free jejunal transfer has become the standard technique in patients with small carcinomas (up to 3 cm) confined to the hypopharynx in the absence of synchronous esophageal and/or gastric carcinoma.

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