Extracapsular dissection for clinically benign parotid lumps: Reduced morbidity without oncological compromise

M. McGurk, B. L. Thomas, A. G. Renehan

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    Previous studies have shown that extracapsular dissection (ECD) is an alternative approach to superficial parotidectomy (SP) for pleomorphic adenoma parotid tumours, associated with low recurrence rates equal to those following SP, but with significantly reduced morbidity. However, if a malignant tumour masquerades as a clinically benign lump, this approach may be inappropriate. This study addressed this question by analysing the outcome of 821 consecutive patients with parotid tumours treated at one centre over 40 years and with a median 12 (range 5-30) years follow-up. Tumours were classified as 'simple' (discrete, mobile, <4cm: n = 662) and 'complex' (deep, fixed, facial nerve palsy, ≥4cm: n = 159). Among the 'simple' or clinically benign tumours, 503 patients underwent ECD; 159 patients underwent SP. In all, 32 (5%) clinically benign cases were subsequently revealed as malignant histologies (ECD, 12; SP, 20). For each group, 5- and 10-year cancer-specific survival rates were 100 and 98%, respectively. There were no differences in recurrence rates when subanalysed by surgical groups, but ECD was associated with significantly reduced morbidity (P <0.001). This study demonstrates that ECD is a viable alternative to superficial parotidectomy for the majority of parotid tumours, associated with reduced morbidity without oncological compromise. © 2003 Cancer Research UK.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1610-1613
    Number of pages3
    JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2003


    • Carcinoma
    • Extracapsular dissection
    • Facial nerve palsy
    • Parotid gland
    • Survival


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