Background: Recently, the modified facelift incision (FLI) has gained increasing popularity for its cosmetic benefits in parotidectomy. However many surgeons remain concerned with the adequacy of the exposure and are unwilling to use the FLI for anterior or superior tumors of the parotid gland because these tumors are closer to the superficially positioned facial nerve branch. To evaluate the changing trends in parotidectomy incisions for benign lesions at a single institute, and to compare the surgical outcomes between the modified Blair incision (BI) and FLI, and determine the adequacy and possible indications or limitations of the FLI, especially for tumors located in the anterior or superior parotid gland. Materials and methods Retrospective study analyzed 357 patients who had various benign parotid diseases and underwent parotidectomy at Severance Hospital between January 2005 and December 2009. Revisions or recurrences and histologically confirmed malignancies were excluded. Tumor location was divided into superficial and deep lobes. The superficial lobe was subdivided into anterior, superior, inferior, and middle portions. Patients' profiles, surgical outcomes, and cosmetic satisfaction score on a scale of 0 (extremely dissatisfied) to 10 (extremely satisfied) were compared. Results: In all, 344 patients underwent BI or FLI. The FLI was performed increasingly each year. For anterior (n = 58) or superior tumors (n = 32), there was no significant difference between the type of incision and tumor size or complications. No facial nerve palsy occurred in either group. For deep-lobe tumors (n = 67), the mean tumor size was significantly larger in the BI group (p = 0.025). There was a significant difference between facial nerve palsy and tumor size (p<0.001) but no significant difference between facial nerve palsy and tumor location (p = 0.145) or the type of incision (p = 0.530). The mean scar satisfaction score was significantly higher in the FLI group (p<.001). There was a positive correlation between the scar and deep hollow satisfaction score (Pearson coefficient of correlation = 0.547; p<.001) Conclusions: The modified facelift incision is feasible for most benign parotid lesions regardless of tumor location, even for anterior or superior tumors. Using the modified facelift incision may be extended with a surgeon's accumulated experience, but for a large deep-lobe tumor, the modified Blair incision is still considered useful.
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