Elective neck treatment during salvage (pharyngo) laryngectomy

  • Simone E. BernardEmail author
  • Marjan H. Wieringa
  • Cees A. Meeuwis
  • Robert J. Baatenburg de Jong
  • Aniel Sewnaik
Head & Neck



This study aimed at determining the importance of an elective neck dissection (END) in case of a cN0 laryngeal or hypopharyngeal carcinoma after (chemo) radiation.


Retrospective review was made of patients treated in a single tertiary center between 2002 and 2014. Influence of an END in case of a cN0 salvage laryngectomy on complications, recurrence-free survival and disease-specific survival was assessed. Inclusion criteria: squamous cell carcinoma and cN0 neck. Exclusion criteria: second primary tumor in the head and neck, a total laryngectomy because of a dysfunctional larynx, or a previously performed neck dissection.


Of the 86 included patients, 27 (31%) underwent an END, of which 1 had occult metastasis (4%). Of the remaining 59 patients (69%) without an END, 3 developed a regional recurrence (5%). The overall survival was significantly higher for patients who had an END (p = 0.037). The incidence of complications was not significantly different between the two groups.


In light of the limited complications of an END and the poor prognosis of regional recurrence after previous (chemo)radiotherapy and a (pharyngo)laryngectomy, we advise consideration of an END at the time of a salvage laryngectomy.


Salvage laryngectomy Head and neck cancer Squamous cell carcinoma Neck dissection Occult metastasis 



No acknowledgment of grant support and of individuals who were of direct help in the preparation of the study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck surgeryErasmusMC Cancer InstituteRotterdamThe Netherlands

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