Effectiveness of submandibular duct relocation in 91 children with excessive drooling: A prospective cohort study

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To evaluate the effectiveness of submandibular duct relocation (SMDR) in drooling children with neurological disorders.


Prospective cohort study.


Academic Outpatient Saliva Control Clinic.


Ninety-one children suffering from moderate to severe drooling.

Main outcome measures:

Direct observational drooling quotient (DQ; 0-100) and caretaker Visual Analogue Scale (VAS; 0-100). Secondary outcome measures were drooling severity (DS) and frequency rating scales.


The DQ at baseline, 8 and 32 weeks postoperatively was 26.4, 12.3 and 10.8, respectively. VAS score decreased from 80.1 at baseline to 28.3 and 37.0 at 8 and 32 weeks after surgery. Median DS at baseline, 8 and 32 weeks was 5, 3 and 4, whereas the drooling frequency median scores were 4, 2 and 2, respectively. Five children required prolonged intubation due to transient floor of the mouth swelling, two of whom developed a ventilator-associated pneumonia. Another child developed atelectasis with postoperative pneumonia. Two more children needed tube feeding because of postoperative eating difficulties for 3 days or suprapubic catheterisation for urinary retention. Children aged 12 years or older (OR = 3.41; P = 0.03) and those with adequate stability and position of the head (OR = 2.84; P = 0.09) appeared to benefit most from treatment.


Submandibular duct relocation combined with excision of the sublingual glands appears to be relatively safe and effective in diminishing visible drooling in children with neurological disorders, particularly in children aged 12 years and older and those without a forward head posture.

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