Xerostomia is a permanent and devastating sequela of head and neck irradiation, and its numerous consequences affect most aspects of the patient's life. A new method of preserving and protecting a single submandibular gland from radiation damage through the Seikaly-Jha procedure (SJP) has recently been described.
To report the long-term outcomes of the SJP.
The trial was conducted between February 1, 1999, and February 1, 2002. All patients were followed up through the head and neck cancer clinic at the Cross Cancer Institute. All data were collected by a dedicated research nurse. Salivary function was evaluated at regular intervals with salivary flow studies and questionnaires.
Ninety-six patients were enrolled in the study, and 38 had a minimum of 2 years' follow-up. The cohort of 38 patients was composed of 2 groups: 26 patients had preservation of one submandibular gland through the SJP, while the remaining 12 did not. Salivary flow was preserved in the SJP group, in which 83% of patients reported normal amounts of saliva 2 years after radiotherapy, compared with none in the SJP group. There were no disease recurrences on the side of the transferred gland or in the submental space. There were no surgical complications attributed to the transfer procedure.
The SJP prevented xerostomia in 83% of the study patients. The approach appears to be oncologically sound and safe.