Management of Parapharyngeal Space Tumors: Clinical Experience with a Large Sample and Review of the Literature

Curr Oncol. 2023 Jan 11;30(1):1020-1031. doi: 10.3390/curroncol30010078.


Parapharyngeal space (PPS) tumors are rare, and they account for 0.5-1.5% of all head and neck tumors. This study summarized the findings of large-sample clinical studies of PPS tumors and reported the clinical work-up and management of 177 cases of PPS tumors at our center. This retrospective study included patients treated for PPS tumors between 2005 and 2020 at our center. The basic characteristics, symptoms, surgical approach, complications, and recurrence rates were analyzed. A total of 99 male and 78 female patients, with a mean age of 48.3 ± 15.1 years, were enrolled in this study. The most common symptoms were external or intraoral masses (114 patients, 64%). Surgical management leveraging, a cervical approach, was used for 131 cases (74%). The tumors were benign for 92% (160 cases), with pleomorphic adenoma being the most common (88 cases, 50%). Surgical complications were reported for 31 cases (18%); facial and vocal cord paralyses were the most common. Three cases of recurrence were observed during the follow-up. PPS tumors are rare and present with atypical clinical manifestations. The current study, which involved cases in a large single center, demonstrates the importance of surgical interventions for PPS tumors. The use of endoscopic techniques has further expanded the scope of traditional surgical approaches and demonstrated its advantages in selected cases.

Keywords: endoscopy-assisted technique; parapharyngeal space tumors; surgical management.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma, Pleomorphic* / pathology
  • Adenoma, Pleomorphic* / surgery
  • Adult
  • Endoscopy
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parapharyngeal Space / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.