Radical neck dissection in nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Aust N Z J Surg. 1991 Dec;61(12):898-902. doi: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.1991.tb00006.x.


We report a series of 37 patients who had radical neck dissection for residual or recurrent lymph node metastasis from nasopharyngeal carcinoma after radiotherapy. The operation was performed despite high doses of pre-operative radiotherapy. There was no operative mortality and the morbidity was 13% (2 prolonged chylous drainage, 3 sloughing of neck flap). The risk of sloughing of neck flap was significantly related to previous lymph node biopsy, which should be avoided if at all possible. In 35% of patients, the lymph node was densely adherent to neighbouring structures. In the 28 patients who had single lymph node clinically, 29% had multiple neck node involvement noted during operation; another 14% were documented only on histological examination. Radical neck dissection rather than excision alone is justified for the clinically solitary lymph node.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma / radiotherapy
  • Carcinoma / surgery*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / radiotherapy
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Neck Dissection*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications