Purpose of review
The practice of primary total laryngectomy (TL) for advanced laryngo-hypopharyngeal cancer has significantly declined in the developed countries. The treatment options most frequently adopted have changed from open surgery to transoral laser or robotic approaches or nonsurgical (bio-chemo-) radiotherapy. Primary TL remains the treatment of choice in the developing world where healthcare resources are limited, especially for the treatment of cancer.
Peristomal recurrence (PSR) is quite a serious complication, with an incidence of 6.6% from the published literature (mainly concerning the developed world), most diagnosed within 2 years, and associated with >80% mortality. The major risk factors include pretreatment tracheostomy, specific primary tumor subsites, positive surgical margins, and presence of nodal metastasis. The treatment options are limited and most success has been observed with surgery, especially when PSR is diagnosed at an early-stage, which is uncommon. Treatment of advanced-stage disease is usually palliative. Reduction and/or prevention of the known risk factors for PSR remain the goal when performing TL. In particular, central compartment (para- and pretracheal) lymph nodes dissection in case of large tumors with extra-laryngeal and/or subglottic extension or pretreatment tracheotomy plays a paramount role in PSR prevention.
Research is required to conclude the formulation of guidelines for proper dissection of the central compartment (level VI) lymph nodes as indicated either prophylactically or therapeutically during TL for preventing PSR.