Acute Sialadenitis After Skull Base Surgery: Systematic Review and Summative Practice Recommendations

Ryan M. Naylor, Christopher S. Graffeo, Ryan C. Ransom, Lucas P. Carlstrom, Matthew M. May, Matthew L. Carlson, Jamie J. Van Gompel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Sialadenitis is a rare complication of skull base neurosurgery, in which the submandibular gland undergoes acute inflammation with edema after surgery. Although attributable to transient obstruction or manual compression, presentation may be rapidly life-threatening as a result of airway obstruction. Understanding risk factors is limited at present, and no practical management guidelines have been reported. Our objective was to survey the literature and to characterize the associated risk factors, treatment considerations, and overall trends in outcomes for patients experiencing post skull base neurosurgery sialadenitis. Methods: A search of the Ovid EMBASE, SCOPUS, and PubMed databases from inception through August 2020 was performed via Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Results: Systematic review identified 13 publications describing 18 cases of acute sialadenitis after skull base surgery. We describe the 19th reported case. Commonalities include the need for aggressive respiratory support as intubation or emergent tracheostomy is almost universally required. Risk factors are poorly understood but may include extreme flexion and/or rotation of the head and neck. Outcomes are favorable overall, although secondary complications have been described. Conclusions: Sialadenitis is a rare but potentially life-threatening complication of skull base neurosurgery, owing to acute loss of airway and the potential for a diverse array of secondary complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-210.e1
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Complications
  • Sialadenitis
  • Skull base surgery
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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