BACKGROUND - We sought to examine surgical techniques used to remove parapharyngeal space (PPS) masses.
METHODS - This retrospective search was conducted from 1980 to 2003. Age, sex, diagnosis, surgical approach, complications, and outcome were collected.
RESULTS - One hundred sixty-six PPS masses were identified: 21 (12.7%) were malignant, 145 (87.3%) were benign, 76 (45.8%) were vascular, and 69 (41.6 %) involved the skull base. Transcervical techniques were used in all cases. Removing the styloid and its musculature and level II lymphadenectomies enhanced exposure for vascular and skull base tumors. Thirty transcervical-transmastoid dissections (20.4%) facilitated removal of vascular skull base tumors. To identify the facial nerve, 20 transparotid-transcervical approaches (13.6%) were performed. Three mandibulotomies (2.0%) were required for internal carotid artery involvement. Expected neurologic sequelae resulted from cranial nerve involvement by tumor. Three patients (2.0%), all presenting with recurrent cancer, had local recurrences.
CONCLUSION - Careful patient assessment and surgical techniques allow the oncologically safe removal of benign, vascular, and skull base PPS tumors.
Copyright 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.