Objective: The primary aims were to determine the rates of and prognostic factors for overall survival, disease-specific survival and disease-free survival following salvage total laryngectomy. Design: Retrospective longitudinal study. Setting: Tertiary medical centres. Participants: A total of 142 patients in eastern Denmark undergoing salvage total laryngectomy for squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx or hypopharynx. Main outcome measures: 5-year overall survival, 5-year disease-specific survival, 5-year disease-free survival and prognostic factors for these outcomes. Results: 5-year overall survival, disease-specific survival and disease-free survival were 37.7%, 54.9% and 55.3%, respectively. N classification at primary diagnosis, lymph node excision and postoperative complications within 1 year after salvage total laryngectomy were prognostic factors for shorter overall survival, disease-specific survival and disease-free survival. Residual tumour/recurrence was negatively associated with overall survival, close or involved resection margins with disease-specific survival, and second primary cancer was associated with longer disease-specific survival and disease-free survival. Nine per cent of all patients had residual tumour and 33.8% developed a recurrence. Conclusion: Our overall survival, disease-specific survival and disease-free survival findings are in accordance with previous studies. With the purpose of identifying recurrent tumour, we suggest extra attention being given to patients with higher N classification and need for lymph node excision during salvage total laryngectomy along with use of frozen sections. The high number of patients with recurrence within 1 year after salvage total laryngectomy occurred although thorough and regular follow-up visits were performed.