Although much has been written on methods of dealing with pharyngocutaneous fistulas once they have formed, there are few reports of methods of preventing fistula formation from occurring. We examined the use of laser-weld techniques with the neodymium:yttrium aluminum garnet (Nd:YAG) and diode lasers to seal pharyngotomy closures. Laser-weld techniques have been used successfully in many other tissues, but reports documenting use in the upper aerodigestive tract are minimal. Indocyanine-green dye-enhanced collagen and fibrinogen were studied as laser solder materials for the diode laser. Twenty-nine experimental animals were studied. Neither the Nd:YAG nor the diode laser was successful in preventing fistula formation. Tensiometric studies documented significant strength of the laser welds ex vivo, but this finding was not clinically significant.
J. A. Shohet, L. Reinisch, R. H. Ossoff, "Prevention of pharyngocutaneous fistulas by means of laser-weld techniques," Laryngoscope,105(7 Pt 1), 717-22 (1995).