, Volume 256, Issue 2, pp 78-82

The impact of preoperative tracheotomy on T3 transglottic carcinomas of the larynx

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To evaluate the impact of the practice of a preoperative tracheotomy and different prognostic factors reported in the literature in patients with transglottic carcinoma of the larynx, a retrospective study was performed in the Instituto Nacional de Cancerologia, Mexico City. In all, 90 cases with T3 transglottic squamous cell carcinoma requiring a total laryngectomy as primary treatment were studied. Prognostic factors such as the Karnofsky index, tumor differentiation, surgical margins and preoperative tracheotomy were analyzed by a Cox’s proportional hazards model. The Kaplan-Meier method and log rank test were used to evaluate the disease-free intervals and survival curves. Thirty-two patients had preoperative tracheotomies, while 58 did not. Eighty percent of the patients in the non-preoperative tracheotomy group were alive after 5 years versus 20% of those with preoperative tracheotomies (P < 0.001). Although possibly controversial, our findings indicate that a pretreatment tracheotomy should be avoided in T3 transglottic obstructive lesions. In patients with these lesions and a subglottic extension ≤ 3 cm we recommend an emergency total laryngectomy when possible to increase survival and decrease surgical morbidity.