, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 571-576
Date: 09 Mar 2010

Laser treatment of mucosal venous malformations of the upper aerodigestive tract in 50 patients

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We examined the clinical appearance of mucosal venous malformations of the upper aerodigestive tract with regard to their accessibility to laser therapy and further assessed the value of treatment of these lesions with the Nd:YAG and CO2 lasers. A retrospective study was performed in 50 patients who had undergone laser treatment for mucosal low-flow vascular malformations of the upper aerodigestive tract. Records were reviewed for demographic data, extent of the lesion, treatment modality, required number of therapy sessions and the therapeutic outcome. Follow-up was performed by postinterventional clinical examination and additional interview by phone for current status. Between 1 July 2001 and 30 September 2008 32 women and 18 men received laser treatment and were followed up until 30 June 2009. The lesions were classified into three grades according to their extent and clinical presentation, as follows: grade 1 <2 cm, asymptomatic or mild symptoms; grade 2 2–4 cm, asymptomatic or mild symptoms; and grade 3 ≥4 cm or multiple locations (more than two) or severe symptoms such as dyspnoea, pain or dysphagia. Of the 50 patients, 13 (26%) were classified as having grade 1 disease, 22 (44%) grade 2 disease, and 15 (30%) grade 3 disease. Treatment in 39 patients was solely with the Nd:YAG laser using the noncontact or interstitial technique. Resection using the CO2 laser was performed in six patients, and combined conventional surgery and Nd:YAG laser therapy in five patients. The applied grading reflects the extent of laser therapy and also the number of therapy sessions performed in patients treated with the Nd:YAG laser. Resection with the CO2 laser is suitable for grade 1 lesions. In advanced lesions a combined therapeutic approach and multiple sessions are necessary. The Nd:YAG laser is still a valuable therapeutic tool for the treatment of venous malformations of the mucosa.