Horizontal (vs. vertical) closure of the neo-pharynx is associated with superior postoperative swallowing after total laryngectomy | Ear, Nose & Throat Journal Skip to content Skip to navigation

Horizontal (vs. vertical) closure of the neo-pharynx is associated with superior postoperative swallowing after total laryngectomy

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April 30, 2018
by Giannis Thrasyvoulou, MD, PGCert Med, PhD; Petros V. Vlastarakos, MD, MSc, PhD; Michael Thrasyvoulou, BSc(Math); Aristides Sismanis, MD, FACS

Abstract

We conducted a cross-sectional study to compare the horizontal and vertical methods used in the surgical closure of the neo-pharynx after total laryngectomy in terms of their effect on swallowing function, swallowing-related quality of life (QOL), and overall QOL. We also assessed the potential influence of age (≤64 vs. ≥65 yr) and the type of treatment modality (primary, salvage, or total laryngectomy with radiotherapy) on outcomes. Our final study population was made up of 34 patients-31 men and 3 women, aged 49 to 89 years (mean: 66.8)-who had undergone a total laryngectomy. One year after surgery, all patients were asked to complete the M.D. Anderson dysphagia inventory (MDADI), which quantifies swallowing function and swallowing-related QOL, and the University of Washington quality-of-life questionnaire (UW-QOL), which quantifies overall QOL. Of the 34 patients, 16 had undergone a horizontal surgical closure of their neo-pharynx and 18 a vertical closure. According to the MDADI, patients in the horizontal group experienced significantly better swallowing function/QOL; the mean composite MDADI scores were 91.5 in the horizontal group and 68.3 in the vertical group (p = 0.005). We found no significant difference in terms of overall QOL, as the respective mean UW-QOL scores were 81.0 and 80.8 (p = 0.93). The population correlation coefficient was positive in both groups, but more so in the horizontal group (ρhorizontal = 0.876 and ρvertical = 0.676). Neither age nor the type of treatment modality employed influenced swallowing function/QOL (page = 0.10, ptreatment modality = 0.78) or overall QOL (page = 0.08, ptreatment modality = 0.59). We conclude that horizontal closure of the neo-pharynx is superior to vertical closure in terms postoperative swallowing function/QOL but not overall QOL.

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