Objectives: Postoperative complications, especially pharyngocutaneous fistulization (PCF), are more frequent after total laryngectomy
(TL) performed for salvage after (chemo)radiotherapy than after primary TL. The aim of this study was to identify the incidence
of PCF, predictive factors for PCF, and the relationship of PCF to survival.
Methods: We performed a retrospective
chart review of 217 consecutive patients treated with TL between 2000 and 2010. Univariate and multivariable analysis with
logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with PCF. We used a Kaplan-Meier survival analysis.
The overall incidence of PCF was 26.3% (57 of 217 cases). The incidence of PCF after primary TL was 17.1% (12 of 70), that
after salvage TL was 25.5% (25 of 98), that after TLE for a second primary was 37.5% (9 of 24), and that after TL for a dysfunctional
larynx was 44.0% (11 of 25). The predictive factors for PCF were hypopharynx cancer (odds ratio [OR], 3.67; 95% confidence
interval [CI], 1.74 to 7.71; P = .001), an albumin level of less than 40 g/L (OR, 2.20; 95% CI, 1.12 to 4.33; P = .022), previous
chemoradiotherapy (OR, 3.38; 95% CI, 1.34 to 8.52; P = .010), more-extended pharyngeal resection (P = .001), and pharynx reconstruction
(P = .002). The median duration of survival was 30 months (95% CI, 17.5 to 42.5); the 2-year overall survival rate was 54%.
The median duration of survival of patients with PCF was 23 months (95% CI, 9.4 to 36.6), and that of those without PCF was
31 months (95% CI, 15.0 to 47.0; P = .421). The 2-year overall survival rate was 48% in patients with PCF and 57% in those
without PCF (P = .290).
Conclusions: Incidence of PCF after TL is significantly higher in patients with hypopharynx
cancer, previous chemoradiotherapy, a low albumin level, more-extended pharyngeal resection, or pharynx reconstruction. The
occurrence of PCF does not influence the rate of survival.