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Laryngoscope. 1975 Aug;85(8):1318-26.

Supraglottic cancer.


Supraglottic cancer, because of the embryological development of the larynx, and of the arrangement of its lymphatic network, tends to remain limited within the vestibule of the larynx and the pre-epiglottic space also in its advanced stages of evolution. The cancer spread may superiorly involve the epilarynx, the vallecula, the base of the tongue, and the pyriform fossa; however, inferiorly, the invasion of the glottis is quite exceptional (1 percent of cases); therefore, supraglottic laryngectomy is the operation of choice. The lower the location of cancer in the vestibule, the safer the indication. The higher location generally requires an extension of surgical excision toward the tongue, arytenoids and hypopharnx. In view of the high percentage of lymph node metastases, supraglottic laryngectomy should be associated with neck dissection, mainly bilateral, also in cases with no evidence of enlarged lymph nodes. Supraglottic laryngectomy has been performed in 240 cases in the course of the last 14 years and the five-year cure rate has been 79 percent. Five postoperative deaths have been recorded. Rehabilitation time for the breathing and swallowing function has been three weeks as an average. Complications, such as fistula or infection have been exceedingly rare: uneventful recovery followed in all cases.

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