There is continued controversy over the extent of parotidectomy required for removal of a benign pleomorphic adenoma from the parotid gland. Currently, consensus exists that the integrity of the facial nerve must be preserved when the tumour is totally removed.
As a result of experience gained in the first half of the twentieth century, it was recommended that superficial parotidectomy with facial nerve dissection should be the minimal biopsy for pleomorphic adenoma. Since that time, however, research has indicated that partial parotidectomy or extracapsular dissection of benign pleomorphic adenoma can be accomplished with preservation of the facial nerve without an increase in tumour recurrence. Partial parotidectomy or extracapsular dissection results in impaired cosmetic results and a lower incidence of Frey's syndrome, and thus may be the preferred approach when undertaken by experienced surgeons.