Background and study aims: Narrow band imaging (NBI) combined with magnifying endoscopy enables us to detect superficial laryngo-pharyngeal cancers, which are difficult to detect by standard endoscopy. Endoscopic laryngo-pharyngeal surgery (ELPS) is a technique developed to treat such lesions and the purpose of this study is to evaluate the usefulness of ELPS for superficial laryngo-pharyngeal cancer. Patients and methods: Seventy five consecutive patients with 104 fresh superficial laryngo-pharyngeal cancers are included in this study. Under general anesthesia, a specially-designed curved laryngoscope was inserted to create a working space in the pharyngeal lumen. A magnifying endoscope was inserted transorally to visualize the field and a head & neck surgeon dissected the lesion using the combination of the orally-inserted curved grasping forceps and electrosurgical needle knife in both hands. The safely, functional outcomes, and oncologic outcomes of ELPS were evaluated retrospectively. Results: Median operation time per lesion was 35 min. Post-operative bleeding occurred in 3 cases and temporal subcutaneous emphysema occurred in 10 cases. No vocal fold impairment occurred after surgery. The median fasting period was 2 days and all patients except one have a normal diet with no limitations. Local recurrence occurred in 1 case, and the 3-year overall survival rate and the 3-year disease specific survival rate was 90 % and 100 %, respectively. Conclusions: ELPS is a hybrid of head and neck surgery and gastrointestinal endoscopic treatment, and enjoys the merit of both procedures. ELPS makes it possible to perform minimally-invasive surgery, preserving both the swallowing and phonation functions.
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