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Parotidectomy

Parotid removal surgery or parotidectomy is a surgicalremoval of the parotid gland.

Usually, the parotid gland is affected by a tumor, infectedor obstructing the saliva. Some traumas to the head might also lead to parotidinjuries. Parotid gland may be removed if it gets on the way to a deep tumor orother structure in the brain, needed to be operated.

Parotid gland is the largest salivary gland producingsaliva. Other salivary glands include submandibular and sublingual glands. The glandis settled between the jaw and the ear, in the parotid space, looking like apyramid. This gland could get infected, swollen or develop tumors, benign orcancerous. Patients feel the tumor of parotid gland as a bump between the jawand their ear.

Symptoms of Parotid Infections

Infected parotid gland may cause headache, fever, muscle andjoint pains and swelling of the face, and patients can feel the lump under thechin or on the cheek. Tumor grows slowly and this is very painful for thepatient. Enlarged salivary glands, dry mouth, sores and infections, sialolithsand tooth decay may indicate a parotid tumor.

Parotidectomy may be superficial, removing the outer,cancerous part of the gland. Total parotidectomy is used to remove parotidtumors which affect deep parts of the gland. Sometimes, this type of surgeryrequires the removal of the facial nerve as well. Possible complication may beweak facial movements, but the full recovery is expected after couple ofmonths. There is also extracapsular parotidectomy, minimalinvasive surgery that does not affect the facial nerve. Patients must be mobilein two planes, without facial nerve weakness or any previous parotid surgery,to be eligible for this type of surgical removal of the tumor.

Complications

Parotid surgery has all the risks of usual surgical procedures:risk connected to the use of anesthesia, bleeding during and after the surgeryand possible infection. Some of the risk are associated with the illness andinclude facial nerve weakness, facial indentation, re-appearance of the tumor, numbnessof the ear or face and Frey’s syndrome. Frey’s syndrome is a condition presentedas sweating and redness of the cheek, close to the ear.

After the surgery, many patients feel numbness of the ear and earlobes.

Salivary fistula is a rare complication of parotidectomy,and patients have their saliva drained through a small opening in the surgicalcut.

The surgery, especially if the patient is suitable forextracapsular parotidectomy, is leaving almost no scar. Risk and possiblecomplications of the surgery are insignificant if compared to the risk ofhaving a tumor or infection in your body.

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