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A parotidectomy is the surgical procedure that is used to either partially or completely remove the parotid gland. The parotid gland is a salivary gland that is responsible for making saliva. There are two paratoid glands, one located on either side of the mouth. These glands can be found in front of the ears and extend to the lower outline of the jawbone. Parotid glands are an important aid for chewing and digesting food, as they secrete thin saliva that then travels into the mouth.

Our ENT doctors may recommend a parotidectomy if the glands develop an abnormal growth or tumor. While the majority of these growths are benign, there is still a small chance they could be cancerous. Roughly 80% of parotid tumors are slow growing and benign. However, the small percentage of malignant parotid tumors can be life-threatening and should be surgically removed as soon as possible.

Reasons for Procedure A parotidectomy may be performed for one of the following reasons:

  • To remove a tumor in the parotid gland
  • To remove lymph nodes that could be cancerous
  • To treat recurrent infections in the parotid gland

The most common type of parotid tumor is pleomorphic adenoma, which is usually characterized with a painless lump at the jawline in front of the ear. A parotidectomy is a great treatment option for these types of benign tumors as well as more serious cancerous tumors, such as adenoid cystic carcinoma.

Possible Complications Problems from a parotidectomy are rare, but there are still some risks associated with the procedure that you should be aware of. Our ENT doctor in Arlington, Dallas or Fort Worth will go over potential problems, such as the following:

  • Numbness in the face and ear
  • Damage to the nerve that controls the movement of muscles in your face
  • Saliva drainage
  • Fistula
  • Infections
  • Bleeding
  • Scarring
  • Swelling of your airway

In order to determine whether or not you are a candidate for a parotidectomy, it is important that you visit your local ENT doctor and allow him or her to examine you and go over your medical history in depth. Contact Central Park ENT today. 

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