Salvage surgery of hypopharyngeal cancer as a second malignancy post radiotherapy and the possibility of digestive track reconstruction – study of three cases and the literature review
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Patients with head and neck cancers have an increased risk of second malignant neoplasm occurrence (25% in long-term follow-up, 4% yearly). Most patients with a primary tumor can be treated with organ-preserving strategies including radiotherapy (RT) or chemoradiotherapy (CRT). Very often after radical surgical excision there are indications for adjuvant radiotherapy. However, if recurrence or second malignancy will develop after definitive primary RT, there are limitation to use therapeutic dose of radiation again for the same area. Salvage surgery is regarded as the only curative option in those cases. In our study we analysed 3 patients, who presented with head and neck second cancer in the area of hypopharynx, within 10-25 years after primary radiotherapy due to oropharyngeal and laryngeal cancer. A total pharyngectomy with larynx preservation and bilateral neck dissection were performed in the first case and the radial forearm free flap (RFFF) was used for reconstruction of the pharynx. Second patient, due to perilaryngeal invasion in radiological images, underwent total pharyngolaryngectomy with selective bilateral cervical lymph nodes dissection and digestive track was restored also with RFFF. The third patient had previously undergone laryngectomy and after total pharyngectomy the free autologous jejunal flap (FAJF) was used for reconstruction. The main goal of reconstruction after salvage surgery due to hypopharyngeal cancer is to reconstruct the digestive tract. The other important aspect is to optimize the anatomy for voice rehabilitation and swallowing. Unfortunately, radiation and chemotherapy impair wound healing, which indicates increased risk of postoperative complications and makes salvage surgery results unpredictable.
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