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Parotidectomy in Tampa and Spring Hill, FL

As part of the digestive system, the parotid gland is one of many glands that produce saliva to help you eat your food. A parotidectomy is typically recommended to remove tumors from the gland or to treat infection. As leading ENT specialists in Tampa, Spring Hill and surrounding areas in Florida, our board-certified Otolaryngologist/Head and Neck Surgeons help you feel confident in your choice to undergo parotidectomy surgery.

What Is A Parotidectomy?

A parotidectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the parotid gland. The surgery is performed by making an S-shaped incision along a crease in the front part of the ear. The incision extends beneath the earlobe and moves forward to the upper neck. The surgery involves the area around the facial nerve — the nerve governing facial expressions — and cutting the parotid away from it. About 75% of this gland is located in the superficial lobe, and the remaining 25% is deep inside the nerve or deep lobe.

Most parotid gland tumors are located in the superficial area of the gland, although some can be found in the deep lobe or both locations. A superficial parotidectomy is when just the superficial lobe of the gland is taken out. A total parotidectomy is when both deep lobes and the superficial lobes are removed.

Parotid surgery takes place under general anesthesia and lasts up to three hours. Normally, the procedure is not painful and well tolerated by most patients. As such, patients typically resume their normal schedules within a few days after surgery.

What Is The Parotid Gland?

The parotid gland is the largest salivary gland, which is responsible for the production of saliva to aid in consuming food. The gland is located behind the ear and extends into the upper neck. Tumors inside the gland are the most frequently seen problem with the parotid gland. Most parotid tumors are benign and do not require surgery. Sometimes, recurrent infections require surgery. Malignancies can vary greatly in terms of their aggressiveness and eventual prognosis, and many less severe parotid cancers can be cured using surgery.

Pleomorphic adenoma, or benign mixed tumor, is the most commonly seen type of parotid tumor. This type of tumor sometimes develops into cancer if left untreated for years. The traditional treatment for them is surgery. Pre-operative Fine Needle Aspiration biopsy can be conducted but does not usually change the decision regarding whether to perform surgery.

Cancer involves the uncontrolled growth of certain cells within the body. The type of cancer is determined based mostly upon what type of cell is being affected by the cancer. Treatment for cancer can take the form of chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery. Cancer prognosis varies, depending upon how soon the cancer was diagnosed, what type of cancer is found, and its aggressiveness.

Reasons for Parotidectomy Surgery

  • For the removal of a parotid gland tumor
  • The removal of potential cancerous lymph nodes
  • The treatment of recurrent parotid gland infections

A pleomorphic adenoma is the most commonly seen form of parotid tumor and is usually typified by the appearance of a painless jawline lump at the front part of the ear. These types of tumors respond well to a parotidectomy, as well as more serious ones, such as adenoid carcinoma.

The Parotidectomy Procedure

The parotidectomy procedure is performed under general anesthesia, lasting about three hours. An ear incision is made that goes around the lobe of the ear to near the neck. The surgeon usually takes advantage of a skin crease to hide the resulting scar, rendering it nearly unnoticeable. The part of the gland with the tumor is excised from the facial nerve. Then, the deeper parts of the wound and skin are closed with sutures. Sometimes, allowance is made for drainage of the wound, which is then removed a day or two following surgery.

Tumors and other medical conditions may require parotidectomy surgery. Entrust your care to the highly-skilled and knowledgeable surgeons at Suncoast ENT Surgical Specialists. Contact our Tampa or Spring Hill office today.