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Management of Intraparotid Facial Nerve Schwannomas

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Background: The purpose of the present paper was to review the management of intraparotid facial nerve schwannoma so as to discuss its clinical presentation, evaluate the various possible diagnostic investigations, and compare the various surgical options and outcome.

Methods: Case series was undertaken of five (1.3%) patients with facial nerve schwannoma out of 400 consecutive parotidectomies at Singapore General Hospital.

Results: There were three men and two women with an age range of 29–65 years. Three patients presented with painless parotid lumps while two had painful parotid swellings. None had facial nerve paresis. Only one patient had preoperative diagnosis suspicious of schwannoma by fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC). Diagnoses were made intraoperatively. Four patients had excision with cable grafting of the nerve defect, achieving facial nerve grade II–IV (House–Brackmann scale). One patient who underwent enucleation of tumour with nerve preservation achieved grade II.

Conclusions: Preoperative diagnosis is difficult but it is important for discussion of the extent and options of surgery. Fine-needle aspiration cytology holds promise in making a preoperative diagnosis. Enucleation with nerve preservation where possible seems to offer better facial function whereas nerve excision with cable graft can give satisfactory results.
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Keywords: cable graft; cytology; facial nerve schwannoma; parotid tumour

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: 01 October 2000

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