Objectives: The carbon dioxide laser has evolved to be the premier dissecting instrument for hemostatic cutting during endolaryngeal cancer resection. However, dissection is limited to mirror-reflected line-of-sight delivery of the laser. A recently developed flexible, hollow photonic bandgap fiber (PBF) appears to offer advantages in endolaryngeal dissection.
Methods: The suitability of the PBF for human application was evaluated in a canine experiment in which human surgical procedures for microlaryngoscopic en bloc partial laryngectomy were simulated. The specimens that were resected endoscopically and the completion laryngectomy specimen were evaluated histologically.
Results: Observations from this experiment revealed that en bloc partial laryngectomy procedures were substantially easier to achieve as compared with prior experience in humans. This improvement resulted from three factors: 1) enhanced tangential dissection due to increased angulation of the laser energy, 2) enhanced procedural orientation due to proprioception of the tissues in contact mode, and 3) improved hemostasis. Histopathologic analysis of the resection margins revealed minimal thermal trauma.
Conclusions: The PBF shows substantial promise for human application in endoscopic partial laryngectomy. It will likely enhance the ability of any surgeon to extend his or her indications for performing endoscopic laryngeal cancer resections regardless of philosophy (en bloc resection or piecemeal).