Superficial parotidectomy versus extracapsular dissection: literature review and search for a gold standard technique

H. Martin* (Corresponding Author), J. Jayasinghe, T. Lowe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Benign parotid tumours usually present as a slow-growing, asymptomatic mass in the pre-auricular region. Although they are uncommon, surgical excision is the mainstay of treatment due to the risk of malignant transformation in some benign tumours. Surgical techniques have evolved over the years, with superficial parotidectomy and extracapsular dissection being the current procedures of choice. There is currently no gold standard, and it remains unclear which surgical modality is the superior option. A literature review was performed in relation to the relative merits of each technique and to evaluate the reasons underpinning the ongoing debate. A total of 16 papers comparing the main clinical outcomes of the procedures were critically reviewed using the PRISMA protocol. Overall, extracapsular dissection indicated a reduced recurrence rate, facial nerve paralysis, Frey syndrome, and operation time. The superior outcomes following extracapsular dissection could be attributed to the less radical nature of the procedure. However, there were various limitations identified within the review that may have affected the results. Selection bias was the most significant, with patients assigned to the different procedures depending on the tumour size and location. Consequently, the debate continues as to what constitutes the gold standard of care for benign parotid tumours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-199
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number2
Early online date11 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 International Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • benign parotid tumour
  • extracapsular dissection
  • literature review
  • superficial parotidectomy


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