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J Maxillofac Oral Surg. 2012 Dec;11(4):407-10. doi: 10.1007/s12663-012-0349-7. Epub 2012 Apr 4.

Safety of extracapsular dissection in benign superficial parotid lesions.

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Department of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK.



The current practice for removal of clinically benign superficial parotid lesions is an appropriate superficial parotidectomy with a cuff of normal parotid tissue for complete pathological clearance. This technique requires the identification of the facial nerve at the main trunk and dissection of the segment of the facial nerve deep to the lesion. The reported major complications of this procedure include temporary or permanent facial nerve weakness, Frey's syndrome and salivary leaks. In order to avoid these complications, a local extracapsular dissection technique can be utilised in the management of small inferiorly located benign lesions of the parotid gland.


A retrospective case note review was performed for all parotidectomies between 2004 and 2009 in Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge by the senior authors.


A total of 172 cases were identified out which 46 underwent an extracapsular dissection. The average size of these lesions was 1.9 cm (0.9-2.4 cm) with all universally located inferior or posterior to the angle of the mandible. The pathologies were 14 pleomorphic adenomas, 24 Warthin's tumours, 6 lymphangiomas and 2 simple cysts. There were no post-operative facial nerve weaknesses, Frey's syndrome or salivary leaks within the extracapsular dissection group. The median follow-up of these patients were 4.6 years (2-6 years) with 6 patients lost to follow-up. No recurrences have been noted in the cohort at follow-up.


Extracapsular dissection; Facial nerve; Parotidectomy; Pleomorphic adenoa; Warthins

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