The aim of this study is to compare the scintigraphic results of a denervated submandibular gland with the contralateral normal side in patients with unilateral chorda tympani damage. Sixteen patients (11 women and five men with a mean age of 27) with unilateral proven chorda tympani damage during their previous ear surgery were included in the study. The perfusion ratio (PR), concentration ratio (CR) and stimulated excretion ratio (SER) were calculated scintigraphically and the results from the salivary glands on opposite sides were compared.
For submandibular glands, the perfusion ratio (PR), concentration ratio (CR) and stimulated excretion ratio (SER) were found to be 0.65 ± 0.21, 0.70 ± 0.21, 0.79 ± 0.37, respectively. All ratios resulted from statistically decreased radioactivity accumulation on the affected side (p<0.05).
Chorda tympani damage negatively affects the function of the ipsilateral submandibular glands despite the absence of atrophy. Dynamic salivary gland scintigraphy is a practical and valuable method of disclosing the decreased capacity of perfusion, concentration and secretion function in unilateral neurological deprivation.