Objective: Through our experiences in the parapharyngeal space (PPS) surgery, we have learned that it is possible to gain wide exposure of the PPS near to the skull base with a transcervical approach alone. Thus, we presumed that if this type of transcervical approach would be combined with a transoral approach, a less invasive oropharyngectomy without mandibulotomy and lip-splitting might be feasible for the resection of advanced oropharyngeal cancer, sparing the morbidities associated with conventional mandibular swing approach or its modified procedures. We termed this method as a mandible preserving pull-through oropharyngectomy (MPPO) and evaluated its feasibility and efficacy in this pilot study. Materials and methods: MPPO was applied for a series of 7 patients with advanced lateral and/or upper oropharyngeal cancer including 2 patients with T4 stage. Our current application of MPPO excludes tumors, which involves mandibular bone, the higher part of the medial pterygoid muscle, and the lateral pterygoid muscle. Results: Safe and sufficient excision of tumors was feasible by MPPO avoiding morbidities associated with mandibulotomy or lip-splitting without compromising oncological outcomes. Conclusions: Although preliminary, our favorable outcomes indicate that MPPO might be a useful alternative to conventional mandibular swing approach or its modified procedures for selected cases with advanced oropharyngeal cancer. Further accumulation of data is encouraged.
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