To document the extent of rostral salivary duct and glandular tissue excision achieved through a conventional lateral approach before and after tunneling under the digastricus muscle.

Study Design

Experimental cadaveric study.


Dog cadavers (n = 8).


Bilateral mandibular and sublingual sialoadenectomy was performed in 8 cadavers using a conventional lateral approach and the point of proposed salivary duct transection was marked with Evans blue dye. Remaining salivary duct was then tunneled under the digastricus muscle and dissection continued rostrally. The most rostral point of the gland/duct complex was marked before transection of the salivary duct. Once removed, the distance between the 2 marks was measured and recorded. Completeness of glandular tissue excision was confirmed by dissection and gross examination.


The tunneling technique improved rostral exposure and increased the median (IQR) length of salivary duct excision by 1.8 (0.35) cm. Residual polystomatic sublingual salivary tissue remained in all cadavers after simulated resection without tunneling under the digastricus muscle. After tunneling, complete removal of rostral salivary tissue was achieved in 13 of 15 procedures.


Tunneling under the digastricus muscle increases the length of rostral salivary duct and glandular tissue that can be removed through a conventional lateral approach.