Parotid fistula is most commonly a posttraumatic situation. In posttraumatic cases, spontaneous closure of the fistula is the general rule. Conservative approaches to the occurrence of a parotid fistula are eliminating oral intake by the patient and applying a pressure dressing while maintaining nutrition by the intravenous route. Anticholinergic drugs decrease the production of saliva and thus would appear to be beneficial. When a parotid fistula does not heal under these conditions, then more aggressive treatment is indicated. Treatment should be based on whether the fistula is ductal or glandular in origin. Several methods of treatment have been advocated in the past. Low dose radiotherapy has been mentioned by some authorities as the treatment of choice for parotid fistula. This was used in one of our patients without response. Excision of the fistulous tract with ligation of the parotid duct has been advocated by some authorities. Tympanic neurectomy appears to be a satisfactory method of dealing with selected parotid duct fistulas, and glandular fistulas are best treated by tympanic neurectomy. Suppression of parasympathetic activity by the use of tympanic neurectomy has been said on some occasions to be transient (for example, Frey's syndrome). In dealing with parotid fistulas it would not appear to matter whether the effects are transient or permanent. The suppression of activity by tympanic neurectomy lasts long enough to allow for healing of the fistulous tract and relief of symptoms.
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