BACKGROUND: Partial laryngectomy following previous irradiation is an oncologically sound procedure with excellent local control and survival rates. Several reports suggest an increased complication rate in previously irradiated patients. METHODS: To analyze whether previous irradiation affected complications, disease control, or survival we performed a retrospective analysis of all patients who underwent vertical partial laryngectomy (VPL) for squamous cell carcinoma of the giottic larynx between January 1984 and August 1993. RESULTS: Sixty-eight patients had adequate followup. The overall 5-year survival rates were 79% for previously treated patients and 95% for primary VPL patients (P = NS). The local control rates with surgical salvage were 93% and 98%, respectively. No increase in wound complications, time to decannulation, length of hospitalization, or ability to swallow were found. CONCLUSIONS: VPL can be performed safely in selected patients following previous radiotherapy without a significant increase in complications or cost.
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