Parapharyngeal space tumours: the efficiency of a transcervical approach without mandibulotomy through review of 44 cases.

Basaran B., Polat B., Unsaler S., Ulusan M., Aslan I., Hafiz G.

Acta otorhinolaryngologica Italica : organo ufficiale della Societa italiana di otorinolaringologia e chirurgia cervico-facciale, vol.34, no.5, pp.310-6, 2014 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier


The aim of this study was to describe our experience with benign parapharyngeal space tumours resected via a transcervical route without mandibulotomy and to investigate associated postoperative sequelae and complications. The study investigated and analysed the retrospective charts of 44 patients who underwent surgery for benign parapharyngeal space tumours over a 10-year period. The diagnosis was reached in all patients with clinical and radiologic findings; preoperative fine-needle aspiration biopsy was not performed in any case. The preferred means of accessing the parapharyngeal space in all patients was a transcervical route. In 5 of these patients, transparotid extension was performed due to the position of the tumour. Tumours were classified radiologically as poststyloid in 27 cases and prestyloid in 17 cases. The final histopathologic diagnosis was vagal paraganglioma in 16 cases, pleomorphic adenoma in 13 cases, schwannoma in 10 cases and comparatively rarer tumours in the remaining 5 cases. In three patients, cranial nerve paralysis was observed during preoperative evaluation. Permanent cranial nerve paralysis occurred in 19 cases (43.2%) in the postoperative period, the majority of which were neurogenic tumours such as vagal paraganglioma (n = 16) and schwannoma (n = 2), and one case of non-neurogenic parapharyngeal tumour. The median duration of follow-up was 61 +/- 33 months. There was no local recurrence in any patient during the follow-up period. A transcervical approach should be the first choice for excision of parapharyngeal space tumours, except for recurrent or malignant tumours, considering its advantages of providing direct access to the neoplasm, adequate control of neurovascular structures from the neck and optimal aesthetic outcomes due to preservation of mandibular continuity with minimal morbidity and hospitalisation time.