The parotid glands are two glands that produce saliva located deep in the cheeks, just in front of the ear. When cancerous tumors develop in the parotid gland, including lymphoma, melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma, head and neck surgeons perform a parotidectomy to remove that part of the gland.
At the Jefferson Center for Head and Neck Surgery in Philadelphia, our head and neck surgeons perform more than 100 parotidectomies each year, working closely with facial plastic surgeons to offer the best cosmetic outcomes.
Depending on the type and location of the tumor, the incision may be designed as a facelift incision, thereby hiding the incision in a crease just in front of the ear, circling under the ear lobe, behind the ear up into the hairline.
Neck Dissection Surgery in Addition to Parotidectomy
A more extensive surgery called a neck dissection may be required in addition to the parotid surgery. This procedure will allow your surgeon to remove the lymph nodes that may harbor cancer cells in the region around the parotid gland. In this case, the incision will be modified to extend onto the neck. If the malignant tumor involves the facial nerve, it may have to be removed to ensure removal of the entire tumor.
The surgery takes an average of 4 hours with complex cases lasting up to 10 hours.