Study Shows Salivary Endoscopy Can Help Those With RAI-Induced Sialadenitis

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World-renowned Head and Neck Surgeon Babak Larian, MD, FACS responds to a recent study out of the Medical University of South Carolina on the use of salivary endoscopy to treat thyroid cancer patients with sialadenitis brought on by radioactive iodine treatment.

Babak Larian
I have treated many patients who are struggling with sialadenitis after undergoing radioactive iodine treatment for thyroid cancer.

A cross-sectional study conducted by Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Hollings Cancer Center, Charleston looked at the quality of life for patients who had been treated with radioactive iodine (RAI) following a thyroidectomy. The study’s findings were published in the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery in January 2013, and the results showed that patients who were treated with RAI would benefit from pre-RAI prophylaxis and post-RAI intervention by various means such as salivary endoscopy.

“I have treated many patients who are struggling with sialadenitis after undergoing radioactive iodine treatment for thyroid cancer. The damage that the RAI can do to the salivary glands can have a negative impact on a patient’s quality of life, making it difficult to taste, swallow, or even talk,” said Babak Larian, MD, FACS, director of the Los Angeles CENTER for Advanced Head & Neck Surgery.

The study questionnaire focused on side effects following treatment with RAI including: difficulties with speech, pain, dry mouth, change in taste, and sialadenitis (inflammation of salivary glands). The study found that salivary endoscopy was safe and effective in the treatment of the common RAI-induced sialadenitis. Up to 91% of patients noted an initial improvement in their sialadenitis after salivary endoscopy, and 54% had benefited up to 2 years after the treatment. This minimally invasive procedure is currently in use at the CENTER for Advanced Head and Neck Surgery.

“By using the minimally invasive salivary endoscopy technique, we can clear the blockage or inflammation from the patient’s salivary duct and restore normal salivary function with minimal trauma to the surrounding facial tissue. Because of the small incision, scarring is minimal and the recovery is fairly quick,” explained Dr. Larian.

Dr. Larian and his team of board-certified otolaryngologists are known for their minimally invasive surgical techniques in the treatment of salivary gland conditions. Also thyroid specialists, they commonly treat thyroid cancer patients before and after RAI treatment.

“It is important that thyroid cancer patients experiencing side effects from RAI seek treatment for their symptoms and don’t suffer through them. At the CENTER for Advanced Head & Neck Surgery, our team specializes in both the thyroid gland and salivary glands so you couldn’t be in better hands when looking for relief from your RAI-induced conditions,” Dr. Babak Larian said.

Babak Larian, MD, FACS, is a highly regarded Head & Neck Surgeon who places an emphasis on providing his patients with the best treatments available. Dr. Larian has a highly specialized knowledge in the performance of minimally invasive salivary gland disorders and strives to stay at the cutting-edge of medicine. Upon completion of his medical degree at the prestigious University of California—Irvine Medical School, Dr. Larian completed a six-year residency program in otolaryngology at UCLA. Dr. Larian currently holds the acclaimed position of Chief of Head & Neck Surgery at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.

For additional information regarding Dr. Larian and the treatment of salivary gland disorders, please contact the CENTER for Advanced Head & Neck Surgery in Los Angeles by calling (310) 461-0300. Further information may be acquired by visiting

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