The purpose of this study is to determine the histopathological spectrum and risk of primary malignancy of asymptomatic parotid lesions incidentally discovered on cross-sectional imaging.
Over a 10-year period, 154 patients underwent 163 ultrasound-guided parotid lesion biopsies at our institution. This retrospective chart review included 89 lesions in 87 patients with asymptomatic parotid lesions discovered on cross-sectional imaging studies performed for unrelated clinical indications. The histopathologic findings of all sampled lesions were reviewed. We evaluated the patient demographics and pathological diagnoses of sampled parotid lesions to determine the histopathological spectrum and risk of malignancy.
The average age was 67.5 years and 92% were males. 25% of patients had bilateral lesions. The average size of the parotid lesions was 1.5 cm and 91% were located in the superficial lobe. 92.1% of lesions were benign with Warthin tumor being the most common diagnosis followed by pleomorphic adenoma. 2.3% of lesions were primary parotid malignant neoplasms, while 5.6% were metastatic lesions in patients with known malignancy.
The incidence of primary parotid malignant neoplasm in asymptomatic incidentally discovered parotid lesions is low. Imaging or clinical follow-up may be considered in patients with incidental parotid lesions who prefer to avoid biopsy.