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Original Article
March 2000

The Role of Supraomohyoid Neck Dissection in Patients With Positive Nodes

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Head and Neck Surgical Oncology (Drs Kolli, Datta, Hicks, and Loree) and Radiation Oncology (Dr Orner), Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2000;126(3):413-416. doi:10.1001/archotol.126.3.413
Abstract

Background  Supraomohyoid neck dissection (SOHND) is currently used as a staging procedure for patients with clinically negative nodes in the neck who are at increased risk (>20%) for metastatic disease.

Objective  To assess the potential role of SOHND in patients with clinically positive nodes at levels I, II, or III. We evaluated, in particular, whether selective neck dissection in patients with clinically positive nodes results in decreased regional control and/or diminished survival.

Patients and Methods  We retrospectively reviewed the charts of all patients who underwent SOHND from January 1, 1971, to December 31, 1997. The oral cavity and oropharynx represented the primary sites in the majority of the patients. Two-year follow-up information was available on all patients.

Results  During the study period, 69 patients underwent 84 SOHNDs. Of the 69 patients, there were 30 patients with clinically negative nodes and 39 patients with clinically positive nodes in the neck. The overall regional control rates were 88% vs 71% for pathologically negative vs positive nodes, respectively, with or without adjuvant radiation therapy. Adjuvant radiation therapy significantly improved regional control in patients with pathologically positive nodes but not in patients with N0 disease (P = .005). Similar results were noted in patients with both clinically and pathologically positive nodes.

Conclusions  Supraomohyoid neck dissection in patients with pathologically positive nodes in the neck is inadequate therapy for regional control without postoperative radiation therapy. However, in patients with pathologically positive nodes in the neck, SOHND with postoperative radiation therapy can achieve regional control comparable to that of comprehensive neck dissection and postoperative radiation therapy.

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