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Your parotid glands are salivary glands located just in front of your ear.

They drain saliva (spit) inside your cheek near your upper back teeth. Symptoms of problems with your parotid glands may include:

  • Swelling
  • Discomfort when opening your mouth
  • Dry mouth
  • Face or mouth pain
  • Bad taste in your mouth

If conservative treatment of your parotid glands is not successful your consultant may recommend removal.

What happens during parotid gland removal?

Parotid gland removal is performed under general anaesthetic and can take up to two hours. Your surgeon will make an incision (cut) in front of your ear. The incision may be extended under your ear lobe and down the side of your neck. They will remove the swollen area and all or part of your parotid gland. This tissue will be sent to a laboratory for analysis. A small drainage tube will be inserted to drain any excess blood or fluid from your wound while you are in hospital. The wound will be closed using stitches or staples.

Immediately following your surgery you will be taken to a recovery area where we will monitor you until you have recovered from the anaesthetic. If you are in pain regular pain relief medication will be arranged for you.

You will need to stay in hospital until your drain is removed (two-three days). Our healthcare team will advise you how to care for your wound and if you need to return to have your stitches removed.

Going home after parotid gland removal

You will not be able to drive so please arrange for someone to take you home when you are discharged.

You may experience some bruising and swelling around your wound. This should fade in about one week. Keep your wound clean and dry. You should avoid any strenuous activity for at least one week following your surgery.

Be sure and discuss any return to work with your consultant.

It may take several months for your scar to fade. But it will eventually blend into the natural folds of your skin.

Most people make a good recovery from parotid gland removal. As with any surgical procedure there could be complications including:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection

Specific complications of parotid gland removal may include:

  • Salivary fistula – saliva leaking from the wound
  • Nerve damage – temporary or long term

Why not print this treatment page so you can discuss any concerns you have with your surgeon?

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