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Parotidectomy for Benign Parotid Disease at a University Teaching Hospital: Outcome of 963 Operations



Objective/Hypothesis: The objective of this study was to analyze the perioperative and long-term complications after standardized lateral and total parotidectomy for benign parotid tumors and chronic parotitis with special regard on the training skill of the surgeons at a university teaching center. All teaching operations were performed under strict microscopic control and supervision of experienced surgeons.

Study Design: The authors conducted a retrospective unicentric study in a tertiary university center.

Methods: Medical records of 963 lateral and total parotidectomies treated from 1986 to 2004 were analyzed with regard to perioperative and long-term complications. The surgeons' expertise to perform a parotidectomy was classified as beginner (0–20 parotidectomies performed), advanced (21–50), experienced (51–100), or highly experienced (>100).

Results: Eighty-five percent of the cases were primary operations (85%) and 15% revision operations. A lateral parotidectomy was necessary in 61% and total parotidectomy in 39%. The mean operation time was 192 minutes. The incidence of transient facial nerve dysfunction was 25%, and 6% for permanent weakness, respectively. Treatment for Frey's syndrome was performed in 5%. First recurrence for pleomorphic adenoma was observed in 2% and for Warthin's tumor in 3%. Significantly more complications were seen after total parotidectomy and in revision cases. Beginners and advanced surgeons (operated 41% of the cases) needed a longer operation time than experienced and highly experienced surgeon (59% of the cases). The surgeon's expertise had no influence on the incidence of complications.

Conclusions: Standardized education in lateral and total parotidectomy for treatment of benign parotid disease under precise microscopic control is safe, demonstrates good results, and has low perioperative and long-term morbidity.