If you are having surgery on larger salivary glands, such as the parotid gland,
may be used. This will keep you asleep and free from pain during the procedure. If smaller salivary glands are being removed, you may receive local anesthesia. Only the area that is being operated on will be numbed.
Description of the Procedure
This procedure is often done in an outpatient setting. But, if your surgery is extensive or is on a larger gland, you may need to stay in a hospital.
There are two types of parotidectomy surgery. The type you will have depends on why the surgery is being done.
The facial nerve runs near the parotid gland. If you have a tumor and it is above the facial nerve, then a
will be done. The tumor and affected tissue will be removed without harming the nerve.
If you have a tumor that surrounds or grows into the facial nerve, a
will be done. The tumor, affected tissue, and parts of the nerve will be removed.
For both types of surgery, the gland will be reached by making a cut in front of the ear and into the neck.
A cut will be made in the neck below the jawline. The submandibular gland, and possibly surrounding lymph nodes, will be removed. If you are having the surgery to remove a stone that has grown in the gland, the stone will also be removed.
Sublingual Gland Surgery
If you are having sublingual gland surgery, it is most likely because a type of cyst, called a ranula, needs to be removed. During this surgery, a cut will be made through the mouth to remove the cyst. If the cyst is large, a cut will also be made in the neck.
Minor Salivary Gland Surgery
If you are having surgery to remove tumors from smaller salivary glands, the doctor will make a cut in the area where the gland is located.
The tumor and any surrounding soft tissue and bone that is affected will also be removed.
For all surgeries, when all tissue has been removed, the area will be closed with sutures. In some surgeries, temporary drains may be put in place to remove any fluids from the wound.
Removed tissue may be sent to a lab for testing. This is often done if a tumor was removed, since tests will determine whether the tumor is cancerous. Knowing this can help the doctor plan for your care and treatment after surgery.
At the Care Center
Right after surgery, the staff may:
- Check your facial movements by asking you to smile or pout
- If you have a drain, show you how to care for it
During your stay, the care center staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection, such as:
- Washing their hands
- Wearing gloves or masks
- Keeping your incisions covered
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chance of infection, such as:
- Washing your hands often and reminding your healthcare providers to do the same
- Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
- Not allowing others to touch your incision
When you return home, do the following for a smooth recovery:
- Follow your doctor’s instructions for caring for your wound and drain.
- Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
- You may also need to return to the doctor to have the sutures removed. After the sutures are out, clean the area with mild soap and water.