Surgical management of parapharyngeal space tumors: A 10-year review

Avi Khafif, Yoram Segev, Daniel M. Kaplan, Ziv Gil, Dan M. Fliss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this article is to describe the diagnostic evaluation and surgical approaches to parapharyngeal space tumors in a tertiary referral center. STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: The study is a retrospective review of 47 patients diagnosed with tumors of the parapharyngeal space (12 with malignant diseases and 35 with benign lesions) and surgically treated during a 10-year period. The transcervical (40%) and the transcervical-transparotid approaches (46%) were the most commonly performed surgical procedures followed by the orbitozygomatic-middle fossa approach (12%) and the transmandibular approach (2%). RESULTS: The surgical procedures were uneventful and there were no postoperative mortalities. Complications were rare; the most common was transient facial nerve paralysis (5 patients). After an average follow-up of 35 months, only 1 of 35 patients with benign diseases had a recurrence 5 years following transcervical resection of a pleomorphic adenoma. Of 12 patients with malignant tumors, 5 (42%) are alive with no evidence of disease. The sensitivity of preoperative fine needle aspiration biopsy (n = 23 patients) was 87% for detection of malignant disease and specificity was 100%. CONCLUSIONS: Most benign parapharyngeal space tumors can be removed surgically with a low rate of complications and recurrence. Malignant neoplasms, however, carry an ominous prognosis and a low rate of disease-free survival. Fine needle aspiration may be helpful in preoperative diagnostic evaluation of patients with parapharyngeal space tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-406
Number of pages6
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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