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Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2002 Dec;31(6):608-14.

Neck dissection in oral cancer--clinical review and analysis of prognostic factors.

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  • 1Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Hanover Medical School, Carl-Neuberg-Strasse 1, 30625 Hannover, Germany.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the oncologic effectiveness of radical and different types of modified neck dissections with preservation of the spinal accessory nerve, internal jugular vein and sternocleidomastoid muscle and to identify prognostic factors for regional control and survival in univariate and multivariate analysis. This retrospective study included 373 patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity who underwent 401 neck dissections between January 1986 and December 1997 at the Department for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Hanover Medical School. The actuarial neck control rate after 5 years was estimated with 87%. Neck failure occured only within the first 2 years after neck dissection. The number of positive nodes, macroscopic extracapsular spread, peeling off metastases from carotid artery and cranial base and preoperative radiochemotherapy were significant prognostic factors. Grade of metastases, microscopic extracapsular spread, lymphangiosis carcinomatosa and postoperative radiation showed no prognostic significance. The comparison of neck failures after radical and modified neck dissection demonstrated a tendency to improved regional control after radical neck dissection with increasing extent of neck disease.

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