Of patients given radiation therapy as primary treatment for limited carcinoma of the larynx, 15-32% will not be cured by this modality. The recurrent tumor and primary site can be encompassed with a partial laryngectomy in a certain number of these individuals. This report reviews the subject of partial laryngectomy after radiation failure and reports experience with 18 patients who had partial laryngectomies to control recurrent or persistent carcinoma after full dose radiation therapy.

Four patients had biopsy cures. Local tumor control was achieved by partial laryngectomy in 10 of 14 patients. Three of 4 partial failures were salvaged with total laryngectomy. Major wound complications were noted in 4 patients. Prolonged healing was observed in most patients. Prognosis is probably as good with partial laryngectomy as with total laryngectomy.