The surgical management of drooling--a 15 year follow-up

Clin Otolaryngol Allied Sci. 1997 Jun;22(3):284-7. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2273.1997.00022.x.


Drooling is rarely seen in the normal child after the age of 6 months, but an estimated 10% of children with neurological impairment suffer significant interference with everyday living due to excessive drooling. Submandibular duct relocation is a procedure that involves the dissection and re-routing of the submandibular ducts to the posterior tonsilar pillar. This procedure has been carried out on 53 patients over the past 15 years at the Childrens Hospital, Dublin. All patients have been followed up with a detailed questionnaire to determine symptomatic improvement, parent satisfaction and complications. Parental satisfaction regarding this procedure is high, with 94% of parents stating that their child had benefited from the operation and over half the parents reported complete cessation of all drooling within 3 months of the operation. The major complication of post-operative pneumonia presumed secondary to salivary aspiration occurred in three children. These patients all made a full recovery. Early minor complications occurred in two children, involving post-operative submandibular gland swelling, and the late complication of a ranula was seen in four patients. We believe this is a safe and highly successful procedure that can significantly improve the quality of life of these children.

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Palsy / complications
  • Child
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / complications
  • Quality of Life
  • Salivary Ducts / surgery*
  • Sialorrhea / etiology
  • Sialorrhea / surgery*
  • Submandibular Gland / surgery*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome