Surgical management of sialorrhoea: A review and outcome report from Red Cross Hospital, Cape Town

  • GJ Copley
  • CA Prescott
  • JJ Fagan


Aim. To review the surgical management of sialorrhoea (submandibular duct transposition with or without bilateral excision of the sublingual salivary glands: the ‘drooling procedure\', DP) at Red Cross War Memorial Children\'s Hospital, Cape Town. Patients and methods. A retrospective review of the medical records of patients who had undergone a DP between 1996 and 2003, to ascertain the results of the procedure and complications. Subsequently a questionnaire was sent to all patients with a recognisable postal address to ascertain long-term satisfaction with the procedure. Results. Forty-six patients had had a DP, and 32 of the medical records were available for analysis. In 23 cases a comment had been recorded on the result of the procedure; 18 (78%) had shown ‘marked\' improvement and 5 (22%) ‘a little\' improvement. The medical records indicated that 2 patients had had immediate postoperative problems: one patient was slow to commence oral feeding and another required a single high dose of intravenous steroids to resolve marked oedema of the floor of the mouth. In the longer term, one patient developed a ranula (a mucus inclusion cyst). Ten postal questionnaires, were returned; of these 8 reported an improvement in the symptoms. Discussion. Short-term improvement was recorded in 78% of patients, and although only 10 questionnaires were returned, 8 of these indicated satisfaction with the procedure. It is impossible to draw conclusions, however, as the large number of patients (36 of the original 46) lost to follow-up could have had a poor outcome. There is need for prospective studies on the long-term outcome of the DP.

South African Journal of Child Health Vol. 2 (2) 2008: pp. 46-49

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1999-7671
print ISSN: 1994-3032