JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Surgical management of minor salivary gland neoplasms of the palate.

OBJECTIVE: Minor salivary gland tumors are uncommon, accounting for up to 15% of salivary gland neoplasms. We describe our experience with both benign and malignant tumors of the palatal minor salivary glands, focusing on the extent of resection and options for defect reconstruction.

STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective review of medical records.

RESULTS: From 1994 to 2002, 37 patients with primary neoplasms originating in the palatal minor salivary glands were treated at a single institution. Patients ranged in age from the second to the seventh decades, with a female preponderance. Twenty-four percent of the lesions were benign. The most common malignant tumor encountered was low grade polymorphous adenocarcinoma, followed by mucoepidermoid carcinoma, and adenoid cystic carcinoma. The extent of surgical resection was dictated by tumor pathology and evidence of perineural spread, and defects were reconstructed with a variety of techniques. Postoperative complications included velopharyngeal insufficiency, flap fistulization or loss, and trismus. After 1 month to 8 years of follow-up, 1 patient has died with regional and systemic metastases.

CONCLUSIONS: Neoplasms of the minor salivary glands in the palate may be excised, with limits dictated by tumor histopathology and perineural invasion. Improved functional results may be achieved by immediately reconstructing the defects with rotational flaps, reserving free flaps for more extensive defects of the maxilla and infratemporal fossa.

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