Surgery of the salivary glands is encompassed in the subspecialty of ENT surgery known as head and neck surgery. I am a Fellowship trained head and neck surgeon with a particular interest in surgery for tumours of the head and neck region, including the salivary glands.
The salivary glands have very important nerves that run either through them or close by to them. Importantly the facial nerve, which controls movement of the entire side of the face, runs directly through the parotid gland. Thus there is a risk of injury to the nerve during parotid gland surgery. This is surgery that should be undertaken by experienced head and neck surgeons.
Click here to read about why parotid surgery may be considered
All salivary gland surgery is done under general anaesthesia. Surgery to remove a lump from the parotid gland ('parotidectomy') is performed through an incision in front of the ear. This incision may curve into the neck. It is disguised as best as possible in skin creases to aid with scarring. Meticulous dissection of the facial nerve during parotid surgery means this operation can take 2-3 hours to complete.
Parotid surgery usually requires 2 nights in hospital. You will have a drain in the neck that collects any excess fluid. Once this drains dries up it is removed and then you are safe for discharge from hospital.
Like any surgery you need to avoid overly strenuous exercise. Normal daily activities are fine but anything above this should be avoided.
Read more detailed post-operative instructions.
I usually see you 1 week after surgery. At this time the results of the pathology from the operation will be available and we can discuss those. Also any stitches can be removed and I can review the appearance of the surgical site at that time.