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Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2005 Mar;132(3):401-6.

Surgical management of parapharyngeal space tumors: a 10-year review.

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Head and Neck and Skull-base Unit, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Tel-Aviv University, Sackler School of Medicine, Israel.



The purpose of this article is to describe the diagnostic evaluation and surgical approaches to parapharyngeal space tumors in a tertiary referral center.


The study is a retrospective review of 47 patients diagnosed with tumors of the parapharyngeal space (12 with malignant diseases and 35 with benign lesions) and surgically treated during a 10-year period. The transcervical (40%) and the transcervical-transparotid approaches (46%) were the most commonly performed surgical procedures followed by the orbitozygomatic-middle fossa approach (12%) and the transmandibular approach (2%).


The surgical procedures were uneventful and there were no postoperative mortalities. Complications were rare; the most common was transient facial nerve paralysis (5 patients). After an average follow-up of 35 months, only 1 of 35 patients with benign diseases had a recurrence 5 years following transcervical resection of a pleomorphic adenoma. Of 12 patients with malignant tumors, 5 (42%) are alive with no evidence of disease. The sensitivity of preoperative fine needle aspiration biopsy (n = 23 patients) was 87% for detection of malignant disease and specificity was 100%.


Most benign parapharyngeal space tumors can be removed surgically with a low rate of complications and recurrence. Malignant neoplasms, however, carry an ominous prognosis and a low rate of disease-free survival. Fine needle aspiration may be helpful in preoperative diagnostic evaluation of patients with parapharyngeal space tumors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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