Frey syndrome—delayed clinical onset: A case report

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Frey syndrome is a disorder characterized by unilateral sweating and flushing of the facial skin in the area of the parotid gland occurring during meals. The syndrome is a sequela of parotidectomy and may follow other surgical, traumatic, and inflammatory injuries of the parotid and submandibular glands and the cervical and upper thoracic portions of the sympathetic trunk. Pathogenesis is based on regeneration of sectioned parasympathetic fibers with inappropriate innervation of cutaneous sweat glands. Various studies have reported the clinical incidence of Frey syndrome after parotidectomy to be as high as 53%. The reported incidence of Frey syndrome in patients not undergoing intraoperative preventive measures is 96% in patients evaluated by means of an iodine-starch test 12 months postoperatively. We present a case in which a patient developed symptoms of Frey syndrome 8½ years after superficial parotidectomy. Although most patients with Frey syndrome have only mild-to-moderate symptoms (only 6% of patients experience severe symptoms), the potential for appearance of Frey syndrome years after the parotidectomy must be discussed with the patient before surgery in the parotid region.

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