Parotid fistula and/or salivary collection: an underrecognized and underreported preventable complication following surgery for oral cancer

Published:March 03, 2022DOI:


      Parotid fistula after surgery for oral cancer is a less commonly recognized and less reported complication. In this study, we aimed to report its incidence and identify factors predisposing patients to it and the management of the patients in our cohort.


      This was a retrospective study of treatment-naive patients with oral cancer who underwent surgery from January 2019 to December 2020 in a single unit of our institute. Patients who were operated for recurrence and second primary were excluded.


      A total of 434 patients were included in the study. Most were men (n = 352; 81.1%) and presented with an advanced clinical stage (n = 318; 73.2%). The incidence of parotid fistula in our study was 6.9% (n = 30 of 434). Buccal mucosa/gingival buccal sulcus subsite (P = .05; odds ratio [OR] = 3.423; 95% CI, 0.969-12.087) and advanced clinical T stage (P = .003; OR = 6.15; 95% CI, 1.835-20.608) were the 2 most important factors predisposing patients to the development of parotid fistula after surgery for oral cancer.


      Parotid fistula is a less common complication after surgery for oral cancer. A conservative treatment approach is usually successful in treating this complication.
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