Skip to Content



A parotidectomy is surgery to remove part or all of your parotid gland. Your parotid glands are found in your cheeks, over your jaw, and in front of your ears. They release saliva into your mouth through the parotid duct. Saliva helps break down food and protect your teeth.


Before your surgery:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
  • General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Anesthesia may be given through your IV. You may instead breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down your throat. The tube may cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up.

During your surgery:

An incision will be made above your ear and along your hairline to remove part of your parotid gland. A larger incision will be made above your ear and along your jaw if all of the gland is removed. Your surgeon may make another incision in your neck to remove any growth that has spread there. One or more drains may be placed in your wound to remove blood and extra fluid. A muscle flap may be needed to close the incision if it is large. A muscle flap is a piece of muscle taken from another body area. Your incision will be closed with stitches or staples and covered with a bandage.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Healthcare providers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When your healthcare provider sees that you are okay, you will be able to go home or be taken to your hospital room.

  • A drain may be placed during surgery. It will be removed when it stops draining fluid.
  • Pain medicine may be given to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.


  • You may bleed more than expected or develop an infection. Your facial nerves and muscles may be damaged. You may not be able to move parts of your face. You may have bruising and pain in your face and neck. You may have a dry mouth, trouble chewing, and you may sweat when you eat. You may have numbness or tingling around your ear. You may develop a large scar. An abnormal opening may form near your wound and cause saliva to leak out.
  • Without surgery, your symptoms may get worse. You may lose feeling in your face and have trouble chewing and swallowing. The shape of your face may change. If you have an infection or tumor, it can spread to other parts of your body.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.