Parotid surgery, also known as parotidectomy, is a surgical procedure performed to remove part or all of the parotid gland, typically conducted to address various conditions affecting the parotid gland, such as tumors, cysts, infections, or chronic inflammation.
The Parotid Gland
The parotid gland is a major salivary gland located in the face.
It is the largest of the three major salivary glands, and it produces about 10% of the total saliva in the mouth.
The parotid gland is located just beneath and in front of each ear. It is wrapped around the mandibular ramus, which is the lower part of the jawbone.
There are two types of Parotid Surgery:
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This procedure involves the removal of the superficial lobe of the parotid gland while preserving the deep portion. It is often used for the treatment of benign tumors or non-cancerous conditions.
The superficial lobe is the part of the gland that is located closest to the surface of the skin.
In cases of malignant tumors or extensive disease, a total parotidectomy may be performed, which involves the complete removal of the parotid gland. This can be associated with a higher risk of complications, including temporary or permanent facial weakness.
Parotid surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia to ensure the patient is unconscious and pain-free during the procedure.
An incision is first made in front of or behind the ear, allowing access to the parotid gland. The surgeon will then carefully identify and preserve the facial nerve, which runs through the parotid gland and controls facial movements. Next, the affected portion of the parotid gland, along with any tumors or diseased tissue, is removed. After removal, the surgeon may reconstruct the surgical area to minimize the risk of complications and facial deformity, and the incision is closed with sutures or staples.
Recovery after parotid surgery varies depending on the extent of the procedure.
Swelling and discomfort are common in the days following surgery, but they usually subside over time. Patients may need to modify their diet and maintain good oral hygiene during the recovery period. Facial weakness or numbness is possible, especially if the facial nerve was manipulated during surgery, but these effects are often temporary.
Follow-up appointments with the surgeon are crucial to monitor healing and address any potential complications.
Risks & Complications
While parotid surgery aims to address conditions affecting the parotid gland, improve symptoms, and prevent further complications. there are still potential risks and complications, including infection, bleeding, damage to the facial nerve, and changes in facial appearance.
The decision to undergo parotid surgery should be made in consultation with a skilled surgeon, who will evaluate the patient's specific condition, discuss potential risks and benefits, and recommend the most appropriate treatment approach.