(Superficial Parotidectomy; Total Parotidectomy)
|The parotid gland is the largest of the salivary glands.|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
Reasons for Procedure
- Remove a tumor in the gland
- Remove lymph nodes that could be cancerous
- Treat recurrent infections in the gland
- Numbness of the face and ear
- Damage to the nerve that controls the movement of muscles in your face
- Saliva drainage—Saliva may pool in the upper neck after surgery. It may also drain through the incision after it has been closed. This is temporary.
- Frey’s syndrome—This happens when salivary nerve fibers grow into the sweat glands. While eating, some people may notice sweating on the side of the face where the surgery was done.
- Fistula—This is an abnormal connection that may occur between the mouth, nose, throat, or skin.
- Swelling of your airway
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Do a physical exam and review your medical history
- Order blood tests and have x-rays taken
Talk to you about any medications, herbs, and dietary supplements that you may be taking—You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure, like:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen
- Blood-thinning medications
- Anti-platelet medications
Description of the Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
- Superficial parotidectomy—3-4 hours
- Total parotidectomy—5 hours
How Much Will It Hurt?
Average Hospital Stay
- Check your facial movements by asking you to smile or pout
- Show you how to care for the drain, because you will have it when you go home
- Follow your doctor's instructions for keeping the wound clean. This may include changing bandages.
- Follow the instructions for caring for your drain. It will usually be removed in 2-4 days.
- You may also need to return to the hospital to have the sutures removed. This may be in 4-6 days. When the sutures are out, clean the area with mild soap and water.
- Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
Call Your Doctor
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Redness, swelling, increasing pain, a lot of bleeding, or discharge from the surgery site
- Nausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medications you were given
- Pain that you cannot control with the medications you were given
- Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
- Spitting or vomiting blood
- New, unexplained symptoms
American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery http://www.entnet.org
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca
Canadian Society of Otolaryngology http://www.entcanada.org
Dictionary of cancer terms: parotidectomy. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/dictionary/?CdrID=44770 . Accessed July 23, 2013.
Ghorayeb B. Parotidectomy: frequently asked questions. Otolaryngology Houston website. Available at: http://www.ghorayeb.com/parotidectomyfaq.html . Updated May 24, 2013. Accessed July 23, 2013.
Parotidectomy. MedStar Georgetown University Hospital website. Available at: http://www.georgetownuniversityhospital.org/body%5Fdept.cfm?id=1017 . Accessed July 23, 2013.
Surgical procedures: neck dissection. Greater Baltimore Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.gbmc.org/body.cfm?id=198 . Accessed July 23, 2013.
- Reviewer: Marcin Chwistek, MD; Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 07/2013 -
- Update Date: 10/31/2013 -