CO2 laser ablation of oral leukoplakia: with or without extension of margins?
The purpose is to determine the sufficient extension of margins during laser ablation of oral leukoplakia and observe its short-term recurrence rate.
Materials and Methods
The study was designed as a randomized controlled clinical trial was conducted on 33 oral leukoplakia lesions diagnosed in 30 patients (16 Females and 14 Males) with an age range between 39 and 79 years. The lesions were divided into three groups; Group A: 11 lesions in 11 patients, in which the laser ablation was done for the entire lesion without extension of margins; Group B: 11 lesions in 8 patients, in which the laser ablation was done for the lesion adding at least 3mm extension of margins; and finally the Group Control: consists of 11 untreated lesions in 11 patients, in which only “wait and see” approach was done.
Complete healing of 13 lesions occurred in both groups A and B. Complete regression of 3 lesions occurred in Group Control. After 6 months of follow-up, 6 of 9 lesions in both groups A and B that showed the recurrence, had shown an initial recurrence after 3 weeks of the laser ablation. Patients with no history of smoking habits showed complete healing of 87.5%, while in ex-smokers complete healing was 42.8%. The statistical analysis was performed, and the averages of all groups are significantly different (p <0.00001).
The primary treatment focuses on the elimination of associated risk factors (smoking, alcohol, and local irritating factors). In the literature, the recurrence rate varies between 13.6% and 40.7%, while in our study, it was 45.5% in Group A and 36.4% in Group B.
The recommended extension of margins should be at least 3mm in width. Further research can be performed to evaluate the immediate re-ablation of the lesions which showed an initial recurrence after 3 weeks of laser ablation