A parotidectomy is the full or partial surgical removal of the parotid gland. It's used to treat a number of conditions, including parotid tumors and chronic infections.
Variations of The Parotidectomy
There are three distinct variations of the parotidectomy, and Dr. Larian will determine the most appropriate option depending on the size, location and scope of the patient's tumor or disease.
- Superficial (or lateral) parotidectomy: The facial nerve divides the parotid gland into two sections - the superficial lobe and the deep lobe. This version of the parotidectomy involves only removing the superficial lobe, while the deep lobe remains intact. To perform this procedure, the entire facial nerve and all of its branches need to be dissected during surgery.
- Partial parotidectomy: For the most part, this is the same procedure as a superficial or lateral parotidectomy. The only difference is this option only requires the dissection of some of the facial nerve branches.
- Total parotidectomy: A total parotidectomy requires the removal of the entire parotid gland, including the superficial lobe and the deep lobe. It also involves dissecting and mobilizing the facial nerve and all of its branches to allow the surgeon to access the parotid.
An Overview of The Parotidectomy Procedure
Regardless of the type of parotidectomy used, the surgery is always performed under general anesthesia to ensure the patient's comfort and safety. Depending on the size, location and severity of the tumor or disease, there are two incision options for this procedure: a modified Blair incision or a facelift incision.
In many cases, Dr. Larian will use a discreet facelift incision, which begins at the ear, extends down to the neck and is well hidden within the hairline. This option allows for access to the facial and greater auricular nerve, as well as the critical muscles that are necessary for cosmetic reconstruction. The facelift incision is most often used when the patient's tumor is positioned in a way that prohibits visibility of the facial nerve with a less invasive micro-parotidectomy procedure.
If the patient's lymph nodes also need to be removed, Dr. Larian will typically use a modified Blair incision for their parotidectomy. This type of incision is several inches in length and extends from the top of the ear down toward the jaw, allowing Dr. Larian to pull back the entire side of the face to obtain full visibility of the parotid gland and facial nerve.
Once the appropriate incision has been made, Dr. Larian will remove all or a portion of the parotid gland to treat the tumor or disease. At the same time, leading facial nerve and facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Azizzadeh, will monitor the facial nerve to ensure its safety and reduce the risk of surgical complications.
After your parotidectomy is complete, Dr. Azizzadeh will perform a reconstructive procedure to fill in the defect left behind by the removed portion of the gland. In addition to restoring symmetry to the face, this corrective procedure provides an added layer of protective tissue on top of the facial nerve, which helps prevent Frey's Syndrome. For this portion of the procedure, Dr. Azizzadeh will use flaps, grafts and other advanced methods to ensure the patient experiences minimal to no scarring, and enjoys an unchanged cosmetic appearance following surgery.
A minimally invasive procedure pioneered by Dr. Babak Larian, micro-parotidectomy is a revolutionary way to treat parotid tumors through the full or partial removal of the parotid gland.Learn more
The Recovery Period
Following a parotidectomy, most patients can return home within two to three days to continue the healing process. If any drains were placed under the skin to collect excess fluid and blood, they will be removed by Dr. Larian's team within a few days. Once home, patients are advised to resume their normal diet, stay hydrated, and take their antibiotics as prescribed to prevent an infection.
Most patients can expect to experience some numbness on the side of the face where surgery was performed. However, this is only temporary and will decrease naturally over time. As some post-operative pain is to be expected, Dr. Larian will prescribe medication to help patients manage any discomfort.
Meet The Team
Led by board-certified parotid surgeon, Dr. Babak Larian, our team of specialists has decades of experience successfully diagnosing and treating diseases of the parotid glands with minimally invasive procedures. Distinguished by our compassionate care and cutting-edge techniques, the CENTER has developed a reputation for delivering the best parotid tumor surgery available.Learn More >>
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