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Intraoperative tumor spill or inadequate resection may be associated with an increase in the recurrence rate of pleomorphic adenoma. An attempt was made to determine the recurrence rate when such factors were identified at the time of operation. From 1970 through 1989, 17 cases were identified in which there was a question of intraoperative tumor spill or inadequate resection of a salivary gland pleomorphic adenoma. Patients were either observed or given postoperative irradiation with a mean follow-up of 7.4 years. The overall initial local recurrence rate was 24%, and all recurrences were successfully salvaged. Inadequate resection, particularly enucleation, was predictive of local recurrence, but tumor spill was not. Postoperative irradiation after inadequate resection appeared to decrease the probability of recurrence. We conclude that recurrence of pleomorphic adenoma is not increased by tumor spill as compared with inadequate resection.

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