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Parotidectomy Overview

Parotidectomy is the removal of the parotid gland, a salivary gland near the ear, usually due to cancerous tumors. There are two parotid glands, one on each side of the face. They lie just in front of the ears, and a duct runs from each to the inside of the cheek. Each parotid gland has several lobes. Surgery is recommended as part of the treatment for all cancers in this gland.Signs and symptoms of parotid malignancy include facial nerve paralysis,pain and/or loss of facial muscle motor function.

Patient Instructions


  • For one (1) week prior to your surgery, you should not take any aspirin or aspirin-containing drugs, nor any ibuprofen or ibuprofen containing drugs. Examples of these include Advil (Motrin), Naprosyn (Naproxen), or Fiorinal. Also,supplements which should be avoided include Vitamin E capsules, Omega 3 (fishoil), or glucosamine chondroitin. If you are required to be on any of these medications, discuss this matter directly with your Ear, Nose & Throat Associates of Chester County provider before stopping.If you are on Coumadin (Warfarin), Aspirin, or Plavix please discuss with the prescribing physician about how to adjust this medication prior to your surgical procedure.
  • Your physician will provide you with prescriptions for medications to take at home following surgery.Please be prepared by filling these prescriptions prior to your surgery. Take only the medications prescribed by your physician.


  • Surgery is performed as an inpatient in the hospital. Drains are kept in place postoperatively in order to ensure that the wounds heal without any accumulation of fluid. They are removed when an acceptable level has been achieved, usually the day following surgery. Patients are generally discharged at that time.
  • Prescriptions, which will include a pain relief medication and possibly an antibiotic, should be taken as directed by your physician. These pain relief medications prescribed are safe to use in the postoperative period.For children, liquid acetaminophen (brand names Tempra and Tylenol) maybe used with the dosage determined by the age ad weight of the child. Adults may use tablets or capsules of acetaminophen with the same brand names.
  • Excisional areas do not generally require dressings unless they are irritated by clothing or exposed to dirt. If a dressing is required, keep it dry and change it as instructed and as necessary. It should be changed if it becomes wet. Do not get the incisional areas wet and do not wash them for 72 hours after surgery. Keep these areas clean and dry. Apply Bacitracin Ointment three times daily with a clean Q-tip over the incisional lines.Please notify us of any unusual swelling, redness, bleeding, drainage or discomfort in the incisional areas.Suture removal usually occurs approximately one week to ten days after surgery.
  • Numbness around the incisional site is normal and should regress slowly over a period of six months to a year. However some permanent numbness in the region of the earlobe may occur. It is not uncommon for patients postoperatively to have slight weakness in some areas of facial movement on the operated side.This will gradually subside over a period of several weeks. Permanent weakness is extremely rare. Not uncommonly patients may experience difficulties with gustatory sweating, a circumstance in which sweating occurs over the site of surgery during the act of eating. For most patients this is nothing more than a nuisance and can be treated with topical medications. Your surgeon may recommend the insertion of a dermal graft below the skin flap in order to minimize the tendency toward gustatory sweating and improve the cosmetic result. Please discuss this matter directly with your surgeon prior to surgery.

If you have any questions concerning your comfort or care, please contact our office at .