Minimal Margin Extracapsular Dissection: A Viable Alternative Technique for Benign Parotid Lesions?

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Extracapsular dissection (ECD) has become an accepted, less invasive alternative for the removal of select benign parotid lesions that may reduce complications. Minimal margin extracapsular dissection (MECD) with dissection on or closer to the tumor capsule may be a reasonable alternative to ECD. The objective of this study is to review the complications and safety of the MECD technique at a single institution.

Subjects and Methods:

Medical records for patients who underwent MECD for suspected benign parotid lesions were reviewed. Outcome measurements included intraoperative findings, complications, and recurrences.


Forty patients underwent a MECD for suspected benign parotid lesions. The average tumor size was 2.2 cm. Frozen section revealed low-intermediate grade mucoepidermoid carcinoma in 2 (5%) cases, requiring completion of a superficial parotidectomy at the same setting. There was 1 case of temporary facial nerve weakness and no cases of Frey syndrome. No tumor recurrences were observed within the follow-up period (average 3.5 years.)


In the hands of an experienced surgeon, MECD may be a viable alternative to formal superficial parotidectomy. This study reports low rates of nerve weakness and Frey syndrome. Long-term follow-up is necessary to determine the ultimate risk of recurrence.

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