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Optimal Management of Post-Laryngectomy Pharyngo-Cutaneous Fistula

Authors Molteni G, Sacchetto A, Sacchetto L, Marchioni D

Received 20 September 2019

Accepted for publication 23 February 2020

Published 3 March 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 11—25


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Luigi Bonavina

Gabriele Molteni, Andrea Sacchetto, Luca Sacchetto, Daniele Marchioni

Otolaryngology –Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Verona, Verona, Italy

Correspondence: Andrea Sacchetto
Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Verona, Verona, Italy
Tel +39-45-8122330
Fax +39-45-8122313

Abstract: The pharyngocutaneous fistula (PCF) is one of the most common post-operative complications in patients undergoing laryngectomy. Up till now, there is no universally accepted algorithm for managing of PCFs and several treatment modalities are used for wound healing. The English language literature was searched using PUBMED databases with the keywords “laryngectomy”, “pharyngocutaneous”, “fistula”, “treatment”, and “management” from January 1, 1999 to June 1, 2019; we selected 35 studies according to inclusion criteria and we conducted a systematic review of the articles. The analysis of the international literature shows a high variability of treatment approaches; there is no consensus about conservative treatment and waiting time, and neither about the indication for surgical treatment or the ideal surgical technique. A first attempt of a conservative measure is mandatory in all cases of PCF. In case of failure of conservative measures surgical treatment should be considered: direct closure and local flap are suitable for small defects, pedicled or free flaps showed good to excellent results in closure of large and complex cervical defects. Other non-invasive treatment such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) and negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) showed promising results but in limited case series.

Keywords: laryngectomy, pharyngo-cutaneous fistula, reconstructive surgery, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, negative pressure wound therapy, laryngeal cancer

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