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    Sensation loss after superficial parotidectomy: A prospective controlled multicenter trial.

    Head Neck 2017 Mar 9;39(3):520-526. Epub 2017 Jan 9.
    Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany.
    Background: 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).

    Methods: 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.

    Results: 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).

    Conclusion: 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 39: 520-526, 2017.
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