Salvage surgery after locoregional failure in head and neck carcinoma patients treated with chemoradiotherapy

E. Esteller, M. C. Vega, M. López, M. Quer, X. León

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50 Citations (Scopus)


With the increasing use of concomitant chemoradiotherapy (CCRT) in the treatment of advanced head and neck carcinoma, surgery has lost ground as the first therapy and is reserved as a salvage treatment in cases of locoregional failure. The objective of our study was to review our experience in patients who had a local or regional recurrence after treatment with CCRT. Thirty-two patients underwent salvage surgery after CCRT: 24 were treated with a local or locoregional resection and 8 patients with a neck dissection only. In patients who had surgery involving the primary location of the tumor, some kind of reconstruction was required in 83% of cases. One or more postoperative complications occurred in nine patients. The median hospital stay was 18.5 days. There was a significant difference in hospital stay in relation to the appearance of surgical complications. Five-year adjusted survival after salvage surgery was 34.2% (CI 95% 13.2-55.2%). Adjusted survival was related to the status of the resection margins and appearance of neck nodes with extracapsular spread in the neck dissection. In conclusion, salvage surgery after CCRT involves extensive resections, requiring reconstruction techniques with regional or microanastomosed free flaps in most cases, achieving acceptable outcomes. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-301
JournalEuropean Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • Concomitant chemoradiation
  • Postsalvage survival
  • Salvage surgery
  • Surgical complications


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