Endoscopic Partial Laryngectomy (EPL)
For cancer treatment, endoscopic partial laryngectomy (EPL), in contrast to open laryngectomy, allows for maximal preservation of normal tissue, faster tolerance of an oral diet (often within one or two days of surgery), no incisions and no need for tracheotomy.
Mounting evidence shows that EPL produces the same cancer-controlling results as traditional open laryngectomy surgery but has lower morbidity rates and lower costs.
To perform EPL, the surgeon inserts a laryngoscope through the patient’s mouth, allowing access for tumor resection with a CO2 laser. Patients are extubated at the end of the procedure and are able to breathe normally.
Unlike total laryngectomies, voice restoration is possible following EPL procedures once the cancer is controlled. Defects to the vocal folds can be repaired to near normal voice function through advanced reconstructive techniques.
Patients typically spend one night in the hospital for observation and regain their speaking abilities within one week. Full healing occurs in eight to 10 weeks and reconstruction surgery is possible within six months to one year.