The parotid gland is a saliva gland located on both sides of the face, right in front of the external ear. The main role of this gland is the secretion of saliva. Specialized cells make up the parotid gland and in certain situations tumors can develop from these cells. These are generally known as tumors of the parotid gland. The treatment for this is a parotidectomy, designed to remove the tumor from within the gland.
A unique relationship exists between the facial nerve and the parotid gland. The facial nerve travels through the gland, effectively separating it into a deep and superficial lobe. Knowledge of this intimate relationship is important for your surgeon as a potential complication of a parotidectomy is facial nerve paralysis, resulting in partial or complete facial muscle paralysis. However, with proper technique and surgical planning, this outcome is largely avoidable.
If you are interested in learning more about the surgical treatment of salivary gland tumors, please contact us for further information.