NYMC Faculty Publications

Implication and Management of Incidental Oropharyngeal Papillomas-A Retrospective Case Series Review

Author Type(s)


Journal Title

Ear, Nose, & Throat Journal

First Page


Last Page


Document Type


Publication Date




Second Department

Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology


INTRODUCTION: Incidental papillomas of the pharynx can be found while examining the nasopharynx, oropharynx, and hypopharynx for other disorders of the head and neck. Purpose of the study is to explore the location, biopsy protocol, and decision to perform office-based versus operative management via potassium titanyl phosphate (KTP) laser when an oropharyngeal papilloma is discovered incidentally.

METHODS: A retrospective review of the senior author's patient population was performed using Current Procedural Terminology and/or

RESULTS: A total of 26 cases were identified, 13 females and 13 males. The median age at time of surgery was 58 years (range: 21-77). The most common presenting symptoms were difficulty swallowing and throat pain. The most common locations were the base of tongue, uvula, tonsils, and the soft palate. Of the 26 patients, 23 patients received KTP laser ablation therapy as an office-based procedure, while the remaining 3 were performed under general anesthesia in the operating room. Only 5 patients had a recorded recurrence that required reoperation. There were no operative or postoperative complications. There were 16 biopsy samples tested for HPV, where 12 were negative for HPV and 4 were positive for HPV.

CONCLUSION: Oropharyngeal papillomas, when present, can be found incidentally during examination of the oropharynx for other symptoms. Office-based biopsy and KTP laser is a safe and efficient means of identifying and removing most oropharyngeal papillomas.