Head & Neck

Skin tumours of the head and neck rarely spread. If this does occur this primarily is to the to the lymph glands that lie within the neck and in front of the ear. This spread tends to occur well before any spread to the blood and organs. Local control of skin cancer is therefore the key.

These glands are found within the Parotid gland. This is a gland in front of the ear and within the neck from the jaw bone to the collar bone. The removal of such glands (Lymphadenectomy) Mr Potter performs to potentially prevent the further spread of the tumour and decrease the chance of the tumour recurring within the neck.

Mr Potter has undertaken over 150 head and neck lymph node dissections for patients with a spread of skin cancer. He undertakes on average one every other week.

After a standard parotidectomy and neck dissection the patient is left with a defect and hollow in the cheek that is noticeable. This area is also likely to have skin that noticeably perspires when eating or feeling hungry (Frey’s Syndrome).

Mr Potter developed a technique that uses a flap of tissue that fills the defect to minimise the cosmetic deformity. This also aims to minimise or stop the sweating patients commonly experience following this procedure. We therefore undertake this at the time of the dissection.

Scars that are noticeable following a neck dissection are vertical scars. With this in mind Mr Potter uses where possible horizontal parallel scars that lie within normal skin folds. This markedly minimises noticeable scarring after the procedure.

Before After Image
Before After Image
Before After Image
Before After Image

Total number of neck dissections with or without a superficial parotidectomy undertaken for metastatic skin cancer


Return to theatre rate

1/158 = 0.6%

Nerve injury




Haematoma (collection of blood within the operative site needing a return to theatre)




Chyle leak (leak of fat from a duct in the neck)


Average length of stay

8 days

PE/DVT rate


Mr Potter reconstructed my left nostril using a graft from my left ear. I would recommend him highly. He gave me clear advice about the procedure he was going to perform, the risks associated with this procedure and the recovery plan I needed to follow to secure a good outcome. I had confidence in Mr Potter and a good rapport with him. He was very pleasant, listened and saw me daily after the operation. I am delighted with the result. My six days at The Manor Hospital were very comfortable. The nurses and staff were so nice.

Mr potter informed me fully of my options to treating the cancer in my limp nodes in my head and neck. The decision to operate in February took all day long. I spent 6 days in Blenheim ward under the fantastic care of the whole staff, who made my stay very comfortable. Another 6 weeks of daily radio therapy in Churchill centre ,has left me now clear of cancer.I cannot thank the whole team enough for the care and attention shown to me.I would recommend anyone to have complete confidence in there ability to care for them.

Matthew Potter has been excellent in every way. He is clear in his explanations of the processes and procedures being undertaken and has exhibited a high level of holistic care concerning the wellbeing of his patient that has been very much appreciated. He has delivered in every way.

Forgive the bullet points but they help to make my views clear:

  • Technically brilliant – I had 2 successful cancer operations, one significant, but was left with minimal scarring and and physical changes and am cancer free at this time.
  • Bedside manner – brilliant. Caring, clearly explains things, never in a rush, I felt like the most important thing on Matt’s mind when we were together and he was prompt to respond to queries when I was not.
  • Mental well-being – Matt was careful to ensure that this part of my cancer and surgery recovery was not overlooked and his referral to a phsyco-therapist was important.
  • Lissie Mead PA – also brilliant at her job.
  • Future – I will be under Matt’s care for at least another 5 years and feel safe and happy to be so.

Thank you Matt and team.

Mr Potter has been carrying out annual examinations to be certain my melanoma has not returned – he performed the lymphadectomy following its excision. He has made me happy, comfortable — and unworried!

We are writing to thank you a million times for the miracle you performed on R’s head and neck last month.