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About The Surgery

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Parotidectomy Surgery

Parotidectomy is the removal of part or the greater part of the parotid gland on one side of the face. Understanding the anatomy of the facial nerve (as it identifies with the parotid organ) is crucial to understand the medical procedure. This procedure is performed to remove parotid cancer, which is cancer of the salivary gland. Parotidectomy is often completed within 3 to 5 hours.

Why Parotidectomy is Performed?

The parotid is a huge salivary organ close to the ear. It helps deliver and control the release of saliva. There's one on each side of your face. The facial nerves pass through each parotid gland. This nerve controls the muscles on the face. In case a tumour develops in the parotid gland, it can put pressure on the facial nerve, causing discomfort and pain. Part or every one of one side of the face might be frail or paralysed. To treat a parotid tumour, part or the greater part of the gland is removed. The amount of the gland removed relies upon how much of it is affected.

Who Qualifies for the Parotidectomy?

Anyone who has been diagnosed with advanced parotid gland cancer. In such people, the cancer is either detected too late or is dangerously malignant. Following are the indications which are used to determine a person’s suitability for parotidectomy.

  • Numbness in part of the face.
  • Persistent pain in the salivary gland.
  • Difficulty in swallowing.
  • Trouble opening your mouth widely.
  • Muscle weakness on the face.
  • A lump and/or swelling on or near jaw, or in neck or mouth.

How is Parotidectomy Conducted?

The patient will be put to sleep using general anaesthesia. In some cases, the surgeon might choose to use a nosy monitor noise when the facial nerve is stimulated.

A parotidectomy is done by making an incision in front of the ear in a natural skin crease. A deep lobe tumour can be approached from an incision in the neck as well. More rarely, the deep lobe could be approached through the mouth.

At the end of the procedure, the surgeon might place a small drain temporarily coming out of the skin. This will drain any fluid or blood that accumulates in the space where the surgery was performed. When the time is right (one day to a few days), the drain will be removed by your surgical team. This takes only a few seconds, and you can think of it as removing a bandage.

Depending on the additional procedures, the patient will go home the same day or within a few days of the procedure. Little pain is associated with this procedure, but the doctor will probably give given a little pain medication anyway.

The person should be up and out of bed by the same or next day. You should be able to drink liquids and eat by the same or the next day as well.

What Risks and Complications May Arise after Parotidectomy?

The risks of parotidectomy are:

  • Haematoma: If there is severe bleeding after the procedure, the surgeon might need to operate again on the patient.
  • Seroma: This is a collection of common body fluid in the neck after removal of the drain. The risk of leaving seroma is that it could become infected.
  • Infection: With any surgical procedure, there is always a looming risk of an infection after the surgery.
  • Sialocele: The saliva may deposit under the skin. This can occur because the end of the parotid gland continues to secrete saliva.
  • Sensory disturbance: A reduction in the sensation of the skin of the neck, around the face and the lobule occur when the greater auricular nerve or some of its branches are cut.
  • Frey’s syndrome: Another terminology for this is “gustatory sweating.” This manifests by sweating on the patient's face when he or she eats or even thinks about eating.
  • Facial nerve injury: This is a common risk of parotidectomy. It will manifest as an inability to move all or part of your facial muscles on one side.

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