Radiotherapy for early glottic carcinoma has produced excellent results and low complication rates. Therefore, hemilaryngectomy and other forms of vertical partial laryngectomy have been used mainly for rescue therapy following radiation failure. Over a 9-year period selective application of this approach was used in eight patients out of 122 laryngeal cancer surgeries performed. Five patients were T1N0 and three were T2N0 at the time of initial diagnosis and at the time of recurrence.
Three patients had healing problems postoperatively. Tracheal decannulation time was increased compared to patients who had hemilaryngectomy without previous radiotherapy. To date there has been no recurrence of carcinoma at any site with a mean follow-up of 58 months in surviving patients.
This experience confirms reports which indicate that with careful selection, radiation failures for early glottic carcinoma can be rescued by hemilaryngectomy achieving excellent tumor control and moderately good preservation of laryngeal function.