Objective: Frey’s syndrome following submandibular gland surgery is not discussed with patients pre-operatively as it is largely considered to be rare. However literature search shows an incidence of 10% and it is thought that this figure underestimates the true prevalence as most patients are not routinely tested. This raises the question whether it should now be routinely discussed as a potential complication given that patients can find it problematic and embarrassing. The development of Frey’s syndrome following submandibular gland surgery does differ to some extent to post-parotidectomy cases and may require different management strategies. The aim of this article is to review the incidence, pathophysiology, management and implications of Frey’s syndrome occuring as a complication after submandibular gland excision.
Data Sources: Literature search via Pubmed, MEDLINE and Cochrane databases. Review methods- All identified case reports of Frey’s syndrome following submandibular gland surgery were reviewed, including a case managed at our institution. For non-English literature, abstract translation in English was reviewed.
Results: Nine articles detailing management of Frey’s syndrome following excision of the submandibular gland. More literature is required.
Conclusion: Frey’s syndrome can produce problematic symptoms that are socially embarrassing. Surgeons should consider discussing the risk of developing Frey’s syndrome after removal of the submandibular gland as is done for parotidectomy cases. More studies are required to ascertain the incidence, prevalence and best long term management options for Frey’s syndrome following submandibular surgery.