Archives of Head and Neck Surgery
Archives of Head and Neck Surgery
Original Article Larynx, hypopharynx and tracheal diseases and tumors

Incidence of contralateral cervical metastasis in laryngeal tumors

Arthur Paredes Gatti, Juliana Cristina Pacheco, Nicolas Galat Ahumada, Carlos Neutzling Lehn, Fernando Walder

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Introduction: Through the knowledge of the metastatic pathways of the Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) of the larynx, the lymph node level with a higher probability of involvement can be predicted. The surgeon uses this knowledge to determine the extension of neck dissection to perform. However, the longer the surgery, the greater the morbidity for the patient. When the metastatic risk is >20%, neck dissection of that cervical level is necessary. In cases of clinically evident (cN+) metastasis, uni or bilaterally, comprehensive neck dissection is determinant for the treatment, however there is no consensus about neck dissection for contralateral clinically negative neck (cN-). Objective: To evaluate if patients with laryngeal SCC homolateral cN+ and contralateral cN- should be submitted to bilateral neck dissection. Methods: The team reviewed medical records from 135 patients with a diagnosis of laryngeal malignancy between March/2009 and September/2017, analyzing gender, age, tobacco and alcohol comsumption, primary tumor site, neck dissection laterality, clinical and pathological contralaterality, staging, tumor recurrence or late metastasis and survival Results: We observed that 40.74% were pN+ on at least one side after neck dissection, which 87.27% performed bilateral neck dissection. Of these, 66.67% did not have contralateral metastasis, 87.5% had no previously clinically evident metastasis. Conclusion: Patients contralateral cN- have a risk <20% for occult metastasis and should not routinely go through bilateral neck dissection.


laryngeal neoplasms; lymphatic metastasis; neck dissection.


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