There is a wide range of partial surgical resections for the treatment of laryngeal tumours. In addition to good cure rates, the main aim is to preserve a competent and functional larynx. Functional outcomes have proven to have a substantial effect on postoperative quality of life and are usually included in clinical studies. This article reviews reported functional outcomes after partial laryngectomies, particularly when related to swallowing. In the majority of patients, reports indicate acceptable feeding without the presence of a permanent tracheostomy. However, a wide variety of methods and variables are used to describe these functional outcomes, making the comparison of functional outcome after different treatment modalities and resections difficult. More objective evaluation procedures are needed for swallowing to reveal the exact pathophysiology, spontaneous progression and prognostic factors after well-defined laryngeal resections.