Objective: Concave deformities and gustatory sweating are the most common complications that cause substantial patient dissatisfaction after parotidectomy. Various surgical methods to prevent these complications have been described. However, effective techniques have not been established, especially in patients with medium- to large-sized parotidectomy defects. We evaluated the utility of infrahyoid myofascial flap reconstruction of parotidectomy defects for the prevention of these complications. Methods: We conducted a retrospective case series study in patients with a benign or malignant parotid tumor measuring over 4 cm who underwent immediate pedicle infrahyoid myofascial flap reconstruction after total or subtotal parotidectomy or total resection of either the superficial or deep parotid gland at our hospital. Subjective analyses of facial symmetry, postoperative concave deformities of the anterior neck, gustatory sweating, voice disorders, odynophagia, neck scarring in the parotid and anterior neck areas, sensory disorders, pain, and neck stiffness were performed using patient interview data. Objective evaluations of facial symmetry were made by the first or second author. Both analyses were performed after a follow-up of more than six months. Additionally, patient demographic data, clinicopathological factors, parotidectomy and skin incision types, flap survival, and postoperative complications were evaluated. Results: We included eight patients (male, n=5; mean age, 69.3 years [range, 37–93 years]). Procedures included total or subtotal parotidectomy (n=4), superficial lobe parotidectomy (n=2), and deep lobe parotidectomy with partial superficial lobe parotidectomy (n=2). Infrahyoid myofascial flaps reached the cranial tip of the parotid defect without tension, and their volume sufficiently filled the parotidectomy defect in all patients. There were no local signs of insufficient blood flow within the transferred flaps. Objective and subjective assessments were made after a mean duration of 1.2 years (range, 0.6-1.8). Postoperatively, no patient subjectively reported facial asymmetry. Objectively, facial symmetry was “good” in four patients and “fair” in four patients. No distinctly visible concave deformity in the parotid or anterior neck area occurred in any patient. Gustatory sweating occurred in one patient; this individual had the largest parotidectomy defect. Only one patient experienced donor site morbidity (mild anterior neck stiffness) related to infrahyoid myofascial flap elevation. Conclusion: Although complete prevention of gustatory sweating was unsuccessful, infrahyoid myofascial flap reconstruction of medium- to large-sized parotidectomy defects led to postoperative facial symmetry with minimal donor site morbidity.
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