Laser-assisted surgery of the upper aero-digestive tract: a clarification of nomenclature. A consensus statement of the European Laryngological Society

Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2017 Oct;274(10):3723-3727. doi: 10.1007/s00405-017-4708-3. Epub 2017 Aug 17.


Acronyms and abbreviations are frequently used in otorhinolaryngology and other medical specialties. CO2 laser-assisted transoral surgery of the pharynx, the larynx and the upper airway is a family of commonly performed surgical procedures termed transoral laser microsurgery (TLM). The abbreviation TLM can be confusing because of alternative modes of delivery. Classification and definition of the different types of procedures, performed transorally or transnasally, are proposed by the Working Committee for Nomenclature of the European Laryngological Society, emphasizing the type of laser used and the way this laser is transmitted. What is usually called TLM, would more clearly be defined as CO2 laser transoral microsurgery or CO2 TOLMS or CO2 laser transoral surgery only (with a handpiece) would be defined as CO2 TOLS. KTP transnasal flexible laser surgery would be KTP TNFLS. Transoral use of the flexible CO2 wave-guide with a handpiece would be a CO2 TOFLS. One can argue that these clarifications are not necessary and that the abbreviation TLM for transoral laser microsurgery is more than sufficient. But this is not the case. Laser surgery, office-based laser surgery and microsurgery are frequently and erroneously interchanged for one another. These classifications allow for a clear understanding of what was performed and what the results meant.

Keywords: Laser-assisted surgery; Nomenclature; TNFLS; TOFLS; TOLMS; TOLS; Transoral laser microsurgery (TLM).

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures* / classification
  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures* / instrumentation
  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures* / methods
  • Consensus
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy* / classification
  • Laser Therapy* / instrumentation
  • Laser Therapy* / methods
  • Lasers, Gas
  • Lasers, Solid-State
  • Male
  • Microsurgery* / classification
  • Microsurgery* / instrumentation
  • Microsurgery* / methods
  • Mouth / surgery*
  • Respiratory System / surgery*
  • Terminology as Topic