Oncological and Surgical Outcomes of Patients Treated by Transoral CO2 Laser Cordectomy for Early-Stage Glottic Squamous Cell Carcinoma: A Retrospective Chart Review

Ear Nose Throat J. 2021 Feb;100(1_suppl):33S-37S. doi: 10.1177/0145561320911486. Epub 2020 Mar 23.


Objective: To investigate the feasibility and the outcomes of transoral laser CO2 microsurgery (TLM) for resection of early-stage squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the vocal folds through several additional surgical procedures and tips improving the glottic exposure.

Methods: Retrospective chart review of patients treated by TLM cordectomy in a single European University Hospital for early-stage vocal fold SCCs (Tis, T1a, T1b, and T2). The following TLM outcomes were studied regarding the tumor size (Tis and T1a vs T1b and T2) and the margin status (negative vs positive/suspicious): patient position; type of laryngoscope; requirement to external counter pressure; resection of supraglottic structures (eg, ventricular band, epiglottic petiole, and suprahyoid epiglottis); pre- and postoperative complications; overall survival; disease-specific survival (DSS); and disease-free survival (DFS).

Results: A total of 148 patients were included. The TLM was realized in 95.3% of cases. External counter pressure, partial, or total vestibulectomy were necessary in 65.9%, 57.4%, and 4.2% of cases, respectively. A resection of the epiglottic petiole was required in 24.8% of cases. The realization of both epiglottis petiole resection and vestibulectomies were significantly higher in patients with T2 and T1b SCCs compared to those with T1a and Tis SCCs (P = .01). Different procedure tips were described for improving the laryngeal exposition. The 5-year laryngeal preservation rate, DSS, and DFS were significantly better in patients without SCC involvement of the anterior commissure, and did not vary according to the margin status. The laryngeal exposure difficulties did not impact the margin status.

Conclusion: The exposure of glottis is possible in 95% of cases of early-stage vocal cord SCC but requires the use of several additional surgical procedures, especially for anterior commissure SCCs. The SCC involvement of the vocal fold anterior commissure is associated with lower DSS, DFS, and laryngeal preservation rate.

Keywords: cancer; exposure; fold; glottic; laryngeal; margin; transoral laser microsurgery; vocal.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Glottis / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Laryngoscopy / methods*
  • Laryngoscopy / mortality
  • Lasers, Gas / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Carbon Dioxide