The effect of submandibular gland preservation during level 1B neck dissection on postoperative xerostomia

Jeff D. Markey, William G. Morrel, Steven J. Wang, William R. Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective Compare the presence and degree of postoperative xerostomia following preservation or excision of the submandibular gland (SMG) during level IB neck dissection (ND) without adjuvant radiation. Methods Retrospective review with patient questionnaire administered to patients with pT1-2N0 oral squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) who underwent resection and ND with SMG preservation or SMG excision without postoperative radiation from 2011 to 2015. We analyzed an additional control group that was age and gender-matched and had not undergone oral resection or SMG excision. We compared the scores reported by the three groups from three questionnaires: University of Michigan Xerostomia Quality of Life (XeQoL), Short Form-8 (SF-8), and a xerostomia severity scale (XSS). Dry mouth severity (DMS) was calculated based on XSS scores among those complaining of any xerostomia. Results Eleven SMG preservation group, 14 SMG excision group and 15 control group patients completed the survey. Complication and recurrence rates were comparable among experimental groups. No differences were identified between the two experimental groups for the XeQoL, SF-8, and XSS questionnaires (p = 0.96, 0.87, 0.7). Control patients reported less xerostomia on XeQoL (p = 0.046) and XSS (p = 0.01) compared to the experimental groups combined with no statistical difference in SF-8 scores (p = 0.25). No patients in either group developed regional recurrence in level IB. Conclusion SMG preservation, though technically and oncologically sound, does not appear in this study to reduce xerostomia. Oral resection with ND may result in some degree of xerostomia perception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-127
Number of pages5
JournalAuris Nasus Larynx
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Dry mouth
  • Neck dissection
  • Submandibular gland excision
  • Submandibular gland preservation
  • Xerostomia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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