Objectives/Hypothesis: To demonstrate the feasibility of the carotid artery dissection and/or resection and reanastomosis, and to show its positive impact on survival and disease control rates for the head and neck carcinomas involving the carotid artery.
Study Design: Tertiary center (Comprehensive Cancer Center). Case series review.
Methods: The data of 90 patients with head and neck malignancies involving the carotid artery were operated for the carotid artery dissection and/or resection, and reanastomosis in the last 10 years were retrospectively reviewed and analyzed.
Results: Eighty (89%) of the 90 patients' head and neck malignancies were squamous cell carcinoma. Fifty-two (65%) and 28 (35%) of 80 patients were recurrent and stage IV disease, respectively. There was no stage I to III disease. Carotid artery was dissected and preserved in 64 (71.1%) of the 90 patients. Eighteen (20%) of 90 patients needed carotid artery dissection with resection and reanastomosis. Eight (8.9%) patients were unresectable. Sixty (75%) of 80 patients needed reconstruction with regional or free flaps and grafts. Overall 2- and 5-year estimated survivals were 32.4% and 27.8% for all; 14.3% and 10.7% for recurrent; 64.3% and 57.8% for stage IV previously untreated; and 22.0% and 22.0% for carotid artery resected-reanastomosed patients, respectively.
Conclusions: The carotid artery dissection without resection is an achievable goal in majority of patients with the advanced stage head and neck carcinoma involving the carotid artery. Resection and reanastomosis of carotid artery, especially in the previously untreated carotid involved patients, is a feasible surgery and achieves better survival and disease control rates when compared with the unresected or recurrent disease patients.