Current practice standards for the treatment of early to moderately advanced laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer demand both achievement of cure and preservation of laryngeal structure and function to the greatest extent possible. The oncologic and functional results of transoral laser microsurgery (TLM) for early glottic cancer appear to be comparable to those of radiotherapy, with a higher rate of laryngeal preservation and a lower cost. TLM for early and moderately advanced supraglottic and hypopharyngeal cancers offers similar results with regard to survival and local control to those obtained with open surgical approaches. In addition, functional results of TLM are superior to those of open approaches because tracheotomies are usually avoided, rehabilitation of swallowing is faster, and hospital stay is shorter. TLM, when applicable, has become the preferred modality for surgical treatment of most early to moderately advanced cancers of the larynx and selected tumors of the hypopharynx.
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