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Complications and Functional Outcomes After Esophageal Reconstruction with an Intact Larynx.

Laryngoscope 2023 September 16
BACKGROUND: Esophageal defects can result from primary pathologies such as malignancy or stricture, or secondary ones such as perforation due to trauma or iatrogenic injury. Techniques, management, and outcomes of reconstruction in this setting are poorly understood. Herein, we aim to highlight surgical outcomes in patients undergoing local and free flap reconstruction of esophageal defects in the setting of an intact larynx.

METHODS: Retrospective review of patients who underwent esophageal reconstruction with an intact larynx between 2009 and 2022 at our institution was performed.

RESULTS: Ten patients met inclusion criteria. Esophageal reconstruction was performed for extruded spinal hardware (n = 8), and esophageal stricture (n = 2). Four patients underwent reconstruction with free tissue transfer, and six with local pedicled flaps. There were no cases of flap failure, esophageal fistula, hematoma, or wound dehiscence. One patient had post-operative bleeding requiring return to the operating room. Three patients had a postoperative wound infection, two of whom required washout. There were no unplanned 30-day readmissions. At three months after operation, all patients who were not tube feed-dependent prior to surgery returned to oral intake. Of the four patients who were tube feed-dependent preoperatively, three were tolerating oral intake at nine months postoperatively. Nine patients (90%) had stable flexible laryngoscopy exams pre- and postoperatively with no voice changes.

CONCLUSIONS: Reconstruction of esophageal defects in the setting of an intact larynx can be challenging. In this series, surgical intervention with free tissue transfer and local pedicled flaps was effective in returning patients to oral intake with low long-term morbidity.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 4 Laryngoscope, 2023.

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