Parotid Surgery from Chicago's Renowned Plastic Surgeon
Dr. Gary Wiesman
The parotid gland is one of the three major salivary glands in the body that secretes saliva near the upper teeth and helps aid in digestion, oral lubrication, hygiene, and protection against tooth decay. This gland is susceptible to benign or malignant tumors that appear as a lump in front of or below the ear. Parotid gland tumors have often spread from other areas of the body to enter the gland through the lymphatic system and may include lymphomas, melanoma or squamous cell carcinoma.
While most of these tumors are benign, they require thorough treatment to prevent growth eliminate any abnormal cells. The parotid gland is also at risk for infection or a blocked saliva gland that interrupts normal functioning.
Treatment of these serious parotid gland conditions may require surgical removal of the gland in order to reduce the risk of complications. Removal of the parotid gland, known as parotidectomy, is performed under general anesthesia and may require a short hospital stay as well. Depending on the size of the tumor, a partial or total parotidectomy may be performed.
During a parotidectomy, an incision is made in front of the ear, similar to the incision used during a facelift. It is important to identify the facial nerve during this procedure and carefully work around it in order to reduce a patient's risk of facial paralysis. You can reduce your risk of complications by choosing an experienced surgeon like Dr. Wiesman to perform your procedure.
Parotidectomy may take several hours to perform, depending on the type of removal and the size and location of the patient's individual tumor. If the tumor is benign, surgery is usually the only treatment required and provides complete removal with only a minimal risk of recurrence. Cancerous tumors will likely need to be treated with radiation therapy after surgery to ensure that all cancerous cells have been removed.