Parotidectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the parotid gland either partially or completely.
Some facts about Parotidectomy:
The parotid gland is the largest major salivary gland that is situated immediately in front of the ear.
Inflammatory conditions, certain infectious processes, congenital malformations, benign, or malignant neoplasms can be a reason for Parotidectomy.
Surgery can be performed by a head and neck surgeon for many people with parotid gland tumors.
The parotid gland consists of two lobes including the superficial lobe and the deep lobe.
A tumor in the superficial lobe is removed in a superficial parotidectomy where as a tumor in the deep lobe or in both the deep and superficial lobes is removed in a total parotidectomy
The facial nerve separates these two lobes.
Great precision on the part of your surgical team is required for treating parotid gland tumors as the facial nerve is nearby which needs to be preserved.
It is an important priority to preserve facial nerve when removing a parotid gland tumor as it controls your ability to close your eyes, raise your eyebrows, and smile.
Procedure for Parotidectomy:
Your surgeon may perform a Superficial Parotidectomy or a Total Parotidectomy depending on the location of the tumor.
A superficial parotidectomy is recommended by your surgeon if the tumor is confined to the superficial lobe of the parotid gland. All or part of the superficial lobe will be removed during the procedure.
An incision will be made at the front of the ear and follows the line down to the neck and under and along the jawline to remove the tumor.
A rim of healthy tissue around the tumor will also be removed by your surgeon if it is possible to do so without causing damage to the facial nerve.
A total parotidectomy is recommended by your surgeon if the tumor is confined to the deep lobe or if the cancer is located in both the deep lobe and the superficial lobe. The deep lobe and possibly the superficial lobe will be removed during the procedure.
Lymph Node Removal During Parotidectomy:
The lymph nodes in the neck and other nearby tissue may be done at the same time as the parotidectomy if the Parotid gland cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.
The main purpose o this procedure is to reduce the chance that the cancer may return in the future.
Facial Nerve Monitoring:
Your surgeon will first need to locate and work around the facial nerve in order to remove a parotid gland tumor.
The complete removal of your tumor with the preservation of the facial nerve should be the priority of the surgical team.
Facial nerve monitoring technology can be used to find the facial nerve during the surgery.
Different branches of the facial nerve, which control different parts of the face can be identified and preserved by using this technology.
The risk of facial nerve weakness is linked to the size, extent, and type of parotid gland tumor.
Monitoring and preserving the facial nerve is necessary as loss of facial nerve function during the treatment of a parotid gland tumor can result in partial or total paralysis on one side of the face which can greatly impair the ability of a person to make basic movements of the face, such as raising the eyebrows, closing the eyes, or smiling.