Modified technique of submandibular gland transfer followed by intensity modulated radiotherapy to reduce xerostomia in head and neck cancer patients

Head and Neck Cancer
14/05/2020

Chang CF, et al. Head Neck 2020.

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Xerostomia is one of the most common long-term adverse effects of radiotherapy for head and neck cancer patients. Contralateral submandibular gland transfer (SMG-T) before radiotherapy was shown to reduce xerostomia compared to pilocarpine. We sought to evaluate a modification of this surgery preserving the ipsilateral facial artery and vein to simplify the SMG-T.

METHODS: Eighteen patients planned for head and neck intensity modulated radiotherapy to both necks were reviewed. Surgical complications were recorded. The grade of xerostomia was assessed after treatment completion.

RESULTS: There were no minor or major complications resulting from the modified SMG-T. At 24.5-months follow up, the incidence of post-treatment moderate to severe xerostomia was 16.7%. No locoregional recurrence occurred. Only one patient had distant solitary lung metastasis.

CONCLUSION: The modified SMG-T technique is a practical and effective method to reduce the dose of radiation to the contralateral SMG and limit post-treatment xerostomia.