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April 1987

Electrocoagulation for Intraoral Cancer

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Surgery, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester (Dr Whelan); Boston University School of Medicine (Drs Whelan and Marcello); Brockton (Mass) Hospital (Dr Marcello); Harvard Medical School, Boston (Dr Patterson); University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington (Dr Deckers); and Hartford (Conn) Hospital (Dr Deckers); and the Division of Cancer Control, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston (Dr Patterson).

Arch Surg. 1987;122(4):484-487. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1987.01400160110017

• Electrocoagulation of 58 intraoral lesions (1 to 6.5 cm in diameter) resulted in a three-year absolute disease-free survival rate of 59% (34/58). During the 20-year study, 43 (74%) of the 58 patients were cured. Though an initial 28% local failure rate was observed, 31% (5/16) of these patients were subsequently cured by a second electrocoagulation. Electrocoagulation has distinct advantages over conventional surgery and irradiation. Relatively little tissue beyond the tumor is coagulated. Such tissue sparing allows better postoperative function and cosmesis. The deleterious effects of irradiation, including the serious "dry-mouth" syndrome, are avoided. These treatment results are competitive with those of conventional surgery and irradiation. The limited field treated, the tissue conservation, the minimal morbidity, and the cost-effectiveness should make electrocoagulation a real consideration in treating selected invasive intraoral tumors. Ideally suited for electrocoagulation are those patients whose lesions are small, easily visualized, mobile, and well differentiated.

(Arch Surg 1987;122:484-487)