Resectional management of airway invasion by thyroid carcinoma

H. C. Grillo, P. Zannini

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Invasion of the trachea by thyroid carcinoma is best managed by resection with airway reconstruction. Localized extension of tumor may also require esophageal resection or radical resection including laryngectomy with mediastinal tracheostomy. Twenty-two patients (12 with papillary, 3 with follicular, 4 with mixed papillary and follicular, and 3 with undifferentiated carcinoma) underwent resection - 16 with airway reconstruction and 6 with cervicomediastinal en bloc resection with mediastinal tracheostomy. Eleven had prior thyroidectomy. Ten of those having airway restitution required cylindrical tracheal resection, 5 had resection of trachea with a portion of the larynx, and 1 had wedge resection. Three undergoing laryngotracheal resection also needed esophagectomy. Colon reconstruction was used. Fifteen of the 16 having airway reconstruction had good surgical results with speech preservation. One died of complications due to prior irradiation. One of 6 undergoing radical resection died postoperatively. Six of the 20 survivors died of recurrence in 12/3 to 9 years, and 2 others died of other diseases. Three who had known pulmonary metastases at the time of palliative operation are alive between 2 and 32/3 years postoperatively, and a fourth who has pulmonary metastases is alive 61/6 years later. Eight patients are alive without disease from 1/12 to 83/4 years. Only two patients had airway recurrence. Resection and primary reconstruction of the trachea invaded by carcinoma of the thyroid should be done in the absence of extensive metastases when technically feasible. It offers prolonged palliation, avoidance of suffocation due to bleeding or obstruction, and an opportunity for cure. In carefully selected patients with massive regional involvement, radical excision with laryngectomy and esophagectomy is also appropriate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-298
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery


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