Background The parotid is the commonest site of cutaneous metastases in the head and neck. The role and extent of neck dissection in patients with parotid metastatic cutaneous malignancy remains controversial. Methods We reviewed the lymphoscintigraphy and single photon emission CT (SPECT) of patients with melanoma who had a sentinel node in the parotid to determine the second tier cervical lymph nodes. Results Levels II and III cervical nodes make up 82% of second tier lymph nodes for the parotid, and levels IV and V, 12% and 4%, respectively. Second tier lymph nodes isolated to levels I, IV, or V, bypassing levels II and III, occurred in only 2% of cases. Conclusion The risk of harboring occult metastasis in levels I, IV, and V when levels II and III are negative is low. Levels II and III neck dissection is likely to be an effective staging procedure in patients with isolated parotid metastases.
- neck dissection
- second tier