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November 1973

The First Laryngectomy for Carcinoma

Author Affiliations

Department of Otolaryngology Ear, Nose, and Throat Infirmary Liverpool 7, England

Arch Otolaryngol. 1973;98(5):293. doi:10.1001/archotol.1973.00780020305001

This year, 1973, is the centenary of the first laryngectomy for carcinoma, carried out by Billroth in Vienna in 1873. The details of the operation were reported in 1874 to the German Surgical Society by Gussenbauer,1 one of Billroth's assistants, because Billroth was absent at the time.

The patient was a 36-year-old teacher of religious instruction who had been hoarse for three years. A subglottic tumor, mainly on the left side, was found by a laryngologist and treated by cauterization with silver nitrate and injections of liquor ferri. With the passage of time, the tumor grew, causing stridor, which was relieved by repeated removals of bits of the tumor. Eventually, pieces of the tumor were examined histologically, and a diagnosis of epidermoid carcinoma was established. Operation was decided upon, and the patient was admitted to Professor Billroth's clinic in November 1873.

It was decided to carry out a hemilaryngectomy,

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