Objective: To characterize pharyngocutaneous fistula (PCF) rates and functional outcomes following microvascular free tissue transfer (MVFTT) reconstruction of salvage total laryngectomy (STL) with a review of two different flap inset techniques and a review of the literature.
Methods: Retrospective review.
Results: Review of the literature revealed 887 patients who underwent STL MVFTT from 14 references. Ninety-six STL MVFTTs were performed by the authors, with 36 (38%) patients undergoing multilayer fascial underlay (MLFU) closure and 60 (62%) a standard single layer closure (SLC). One (3%) PCF occurred in the MLFU group compared to 12 (20%) in the SLC cohort (P = .03). Postoperative gastrostomy (G)-tube dependence was lower following MLFU closure compared to SLC (25% vs. 57%, P < .01), whereas pharyngoesophageal stricture (PES) (28% vs. 38%), tracheoesophageal puncture (TEP) placement (42% vs. 42%), and TEP usage (87% vs. 88%) did not significantly differ (P > .05). Compared to pooled rates from the literature, patients who underwent a MLFU MVFTT inset technique demonstrated significantly lower PCF incidence (3% vs. 23%, P < .01) without significant differences in PES (28% vs 23%, P = .55), G-tube dependence (25% vs. 23%, P = .25), or TEP placement (42% vs. 59%, P = .09).
Conclusion: Despite MVFTT reconstruction after STL, G-tube dependence, PCF formation, and limitations of speaking rehabilitation (TEP) remain a significant issue. Modification of MVFTT inset may provide an opportunity to reduce PCF incidence without affecting other functional outcomes.
Level of evidence: 4 Laryngoscope, 131:E875-E881, 2021.
Keywords: Laryngectomy; TEP; fistula; free flap; gastrostomy tube; microvascular reconstruction.
© 2020 The American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society, Inc.