The purpose of this study was to evaluate the occurrence of hypoesthesia after superficial parotidectomy depending on preservation of posterior branch of the great auricular nerve (GAN).
This prospective, controlled, double blind, multicenter trial included 130 patients. The posterior branch was preserved in 93 patients (GAN group), and ligated in 33 patients (non-GAN group). In 4 patients, GAN status was unknown. Included patients underwent sensory testing (TouchTest) and subjective evaluation at 6, 12, and 24 months after surgery.
Better improvement of sensation was present in the GAN group. After 12 months, 59% of the patients in the GAN-group showed positive test results in the lobule, versus 24% of the non-GAN group (p = .013). Additionally, after 24 months, 71% of the patients in the GAN-group showed a positive test in the antitragus, versus 31% in the non-GAN group (p = .045). Hypoesthesia equally limited quality of life in both groups (all p > .05).
Preservation of the posterior branch of the GAN led to significantly better improvement of sensation in the lobule and antitragus, and should be recommended during parotidectomy. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2017