OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of selective neck dissection (SND) for elective treatment of the clinically negative neck in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). METHODS: A retrospective review was undertaken on 91 previously untreated patients with T1-4 SCC of oral cavity (23), oropharynx (5), hypopharynx (7), larynx (56), and clinically negative neck (N0), undergoing 126 SND from January 1990 to March 1999 at a single institution. Twenty-five patients received postoperative radiation therapy on the basis of histologic evidence of > 2 positive nodes, extracapsular spread (ECS), and/or the presence of advanced primary lesion. RESULTS: On pathologic examination the average number of lymph nodes was 20.5 per neck, occult disease was detected in 14 (11.11%) of 126 necks; of necks with positive nodes, 6 (42.85%) of 14 had ECS. The median follow-up was 36 months. Overall recurrence rate (local, regional, and distant) was 12.8% (11 of 91). Recurrent disease developed in the neck of one patient, outside the dissected field. There was no difference in recurrence rate between pN0 and pN+ patients, as well as between pN+ with or without ECS. Overall survival rate was 84% (77 of 91), with a statistically significant difference between pN0 and pN+ necks. CONCLUSION: SND seems to be a pragmatic approach that is as effective as comprehensive procedures for staging and treating the clinically negative neck.
ASJC Scopus subject areas