Frey’s Syndrome (Auriculotemporal Syndrome) after Parotidectomy and its Prevention

Authors: B. Gál 1;  Z. Kadaňka Jr 2;  T. Hložková 1;  J. Hanák 1;  J. Hložek 1
Authors‘ workplace: Klinika otorinolaryngologie a chirurgie hlavy a krku LF MU a FN u sv. Anny v Brně 1;  Neurologická klinika LF MU a FN Brno 2
Published in: Cesk Slov Neurol N 2015; 78/111(4): 463-467
Category: Short Communication


Frey´s syndrome (auricotemporal syndrome) is frequent sequelae of parotid gland surgery caused by inappropriate regrowth of parasympathetic fibres of the auriculotemporal nerve into sweat glands of the skin. Typically, the syndrome is characterized by sweating, erythema and flushing of the skin overlying the parotid region, especially in response to taste stimuli. Placement of an interpositional barrier between the skin and the parotid gland can prevent these complications.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the incidence of Frey´s syndrome and the impact of using sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM) flap on this syndrome.

Material and methods:
In a retrospective study, a series of 167 patients who underwent partial or total parotidectomy between January 2007 and December 2011 were divided into two groups. One group had an SCM flap reconstruction (n = 42), and the other group did not (n = 125). A subjective clinical evaluation, a questionnaire and the objective Minor´s test were used to diagnose the syndrome post-surgery.

The overall incidence of Frey´s syndrome was 15% (25/167 patients), 16% (22/125) in the non-SCM flap group and 7% (3/42) in the SCM flap group, respectively. There was a statistically significant difference between the two groups according to the Fisher´s frequency exact test (p < 0.05).

The SCM flap, used as an interposing barrier between the overlying skin and the parotid bed following parotidectomy, is a simple, fast and efficient method for preventing Frey´s syndrome following parotidectomy.

Key words:
Frey´s syndrome – auriculotemporal syndrome – sternocleidomastoid muscle flap – parotidectomy

The authors declare they have no potential conflicts of interest concerning drugs, products, or services used in the study.

The Editorial Board declares that the manuscript met the ICMJE “uniform requirements” for biomedical papers.


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Paediatric neurology Neurosurgery Neurology

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Czech and Slovak Neurology and Neurosurgery

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