Facial Nerve Sacrifice During Parotidectomy for Metastatic Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Jessica Yesensky, Roberto N. Solis, Arnaud Bewley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: We analyzed the incidence of facial nerve sacrifice during parotidectomy for metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC). Study Design: We retrospectively reviewed the charts of patients with cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. Setting: We used our CSCC institutional database, which includes patients treated at the University of California–Davis from 2001 to 2018. Methods: We evaluated patients who presented with biopsy-proven head and neck CSCC who underwent parotidectomy as a part of surgical treatment. We assessed the frequency of facial nerve sacrifice required in patients with normal preoperative facial nerve function with metastatic disease to the parotid. We evaluated the association between sacrifice and high-risk tumor variables using multivariate analysis. Results: We identified 53 patients with parotid metastasis and normal preoperative facial nerve function. Thirteen percent of patients required sacrifice of the main trunk of the facial nerve and 27% required sacrifice of a branch of the facial nerve. All patients who underwent facial nerve sacrifice had extracapsular spread (ECS). Perineural invasion (PNI) in the primary tumor (odds ratio [OR], 9.11; P =.041) and location of metastasis within the parotid body (OR, 6.6; P =.044) were independently associated with facial nerve sacrifice. Conclusion: Patients with regionally metastatic CSCC to the parotid gland frequently require sacrifice of all or a component of the facial nerve despite normal preoperative function. The likelihood of nerve sacrifice is highest for tumors with PNI and metastatic disease within the body of the parotid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOTO Open
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021


  • cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma
  • facial nerve
  • metastasis
  • parotidectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Surgery


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