Extensive malignant tumors involving the base of tongue and adjacent pharyngeal walls usually require surgical resection combined with radiation therapy and sometimes chemotherapy. Often it is elected to perform a concomitant laryngectomy to prevent chronic aspiration, but not because of tumor extension to the larynx.
A new technique allowing preservation of glottic function is described. This involved preservation of the false vocal folds and their surgical closure. The interarytenoid mucosa is preserved. This provides a fistula with a sphincteric function in the interarytenoid area. A permanent tracheostoma is created.
This procedure has been used in the treatment of eight patients from April of 1979 to April of 1982. One patient died of sepsis in the early postoperative period. Of the seven evaluable patients, only one experienced significant aspiration postoperatively. All patients achieved adequate phonntion. Four patients developed good speech. The remaining three patients have some speech, but are limited in their articulation because of resection of a significant portion of the oral tongue. Three patients are alive and have developed a recurrence. Two patients are alive with recurrent disease and two patients died of their disease.
This procedure appears to allow adequate surgical resection of extensive oropharyngeal neoplasms with preservation of the laryngeal functions of phonation and protection of the lower tracheal-bronchial tree.