Purpose: Quality assurance is much more difficult to achieve in surgical oncology than in medical oncology and radiotherapy where doses are standardized and toxicities are well-classified. To better define what is required in surgery, we analyzed recent articles addressing the point in head and neck surgery. Results: The surgical report should match with the pathological description of the resected specimen with accurate delineation of the margins, number and level(s) of lymph nodes (capsular rupture if any). Complications (minor and major) should be standardized and meticulously recorded; as well as comorbidities and patient status. The acuity of the procedure should be defined by metrics collected in check-lists. Age > 60 years, male gender, tumor site and T4 stage, neck dissection(s), flap reconstruction, alcohol and tobacco consumption, are acknowledged risk factors for more complications and longer hospital stay (or readmission). Needs: Randomized controlled trials should be designed adopting the consolidated standards of reporting trials (CONSORT). Training young head and neck surgeons should encompass formation in designing, conducting and interpreting clinical trials.
Andry, G., Hamoir, M., & Leemans, C. R. (2018). Quality assurance in head and neck surgery: special considerations to catch up. European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology, 275(8), 2145-2149. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00405-018-5046-9