Salivary glands


Grossing, frozen section & features to report

Topic Completed: 1 September 2012

Minor changes: 18 February 2020

Copyright: 2003-2021,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Salivary glands gross[TI]

Adriana Handra-Luca, M.D., Ph.D.
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Cite this page: Handra-Luca A Grossing, frozen section & features to report. website. Accessed December 4th, 2021.
  • At least one section per 1 cm of tumor for large tumors, including tumor center and periphery
  • Submit entire tumor if can do so in 5 sections or less
  • Submit resection margins
  • Save intervening levels on biopsies for special stains
  • For neck dissections, should have 6 or more lymph nodes if selective dissection and 10 or more if modified radical neck dissection

Note also presence or absence of:
  • Capsule
  • Cartilage, calcific deposits
  • Cystic change
  • Extraglandular extension
  • Localized / diffuse nature of tumor
  • Margin involvement
  • Necrosis
  • Solitary / multifocal tumor
Frozen section
  • Useful to determine extent of surgery needed, particularly for parotid tumors
  • Most common error is to diagnose mucoepidermoid carcinoma as benign
Features to report
  • Tumor histologic type and pattern
  • Anatomic site of origin / location, side
  • Tumor size
  • Tumor histologic grade (for mucoepidermoid carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, NOS, malignant mixed tumor, adenoid cystic carcinoma)
  • Tumor extension (intra or extraglandular), to adjacent structures
  • Status of resection margins
  • Vascular invasion
  • Perineural invasion
  • Lymph nodes: for each level, number obtained, number involved by tumor, size of largest nodal metastases, presence of extracapsular spread, side, if appropriate - major nerve (e.g. facial) or vessel (e.g. jugular vein), bone, skin involvement

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