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Oral Oncol. 2003 Dec;39(8):759-69.

Laser surgery as a treatment for oral leukoplakia.

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Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, 7-5-2, Kusunoki-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe 650-0017, Japan. ishiijun@med,


Various treatment procedures for oral leukoplakia have been reported. However, after some treatments, oral leukoplakia show recurrence and/or malignant transformation, even following complete resection. Furthermore, patients with oral leukoplakia may develop new lesions in other oral cavity locations. Laser surgery for oral mucosal lesions has been reported to have many advantages, and it is widely used in the treatment of oral leukoplakia. In previous studies, recurrence and malignant transformation from the lesion have occasionally been observed following laser surgery. We reviewed the records of oral leukoplakia patients treated with laser surgery to assess its clinical usefulness. It has been reported that the rate of recurrence was 7.7-38.1%, while malignant transformation was 2.6-9% for oral leukoplakia treated with laser surgery. In the present study, there was 29.3% recurrence and 1.2% malignant transformation after laser surgery. This was similar to previous findings. This suggests that non-homogeneous leukoplakia on nonkeratinized epithelia, i.e. the tongue mucosa has a high risk for malignant transformation, so lesions should be excised after detecting abnormal epithelia using vital tissue staining. The wound healing process after laser surgery was satisfactory and no significant complications were observed. Management of oral leukoplakia prevents not only recurrence and malignant transformation, but also postoperative dysfunction: laser surgery is an excellent procedure that is able to overcome these problems.

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