2 Scopus citations


Objectives/Hypothesis: The goal of head and neck cancer surgery is the complete resection of tumor with a cuff of healthy tissue. A 5-mm margin is optimal but not always achievable in the oropharynx. We aimed to identify a consensus of definition and management of close margins for human papilloma virus (HPV)-associated oropharyngeal cancer without other risk factors. Study Design: Descriptive survey. Methods: A survey of the American Head and Neck Society (AHNS) was conducted to evaluate the abovementioned objectives by presenting hypothetical scenarios and asking questions regarding management. Results: One-hundred fifty-five AHNS members completed the survey (18% response rate). Close margins were defined as <5 mm, <3 mm, and <1 mm by 27.7%, 32.3%, and 32.3% of respondents. There was no significant difference in margin determination with experience level (P =.186). In an HPV-positive tumor with close margins, 51% chose postoperative observation. The remainder chose adjuvant radiation (22.6%), chemoradiation (1.9%), or re-excision of the wound bed (19.4%). There was no association between postoperative close margin management and experience level (P =.80). Conclusion: Heterogeneity exists in the definition and management of close margins in HPV-mediated oropharyngeal carcinoma (OPSCC). Establishing a standard regarding close margins in HPV-mediated OPSCC may allow for the optimization of outcomes and help define best practices. Level of Evidence: 5 Laryngoscope, 131:E2650–E2654, 2021.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E2650-E2654
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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