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Parotidectomy is a surgical procedure to remove either a small portion or the entire parotid gland, which is located under the skin in front of the ear overlying the jaw bone.

The parotid gland is closely associated with the facial nerve, which controls face movement such as raising the eyebrow and smiling. For this reason, the surgery is a delicate one. The removal of the gland must be balanced with preserving the facial nerve.

The procedure

Before your surgery, the surgeon may order a CT or MRI exam to visualize the anatomy of the parotid gland. This helps with accuracy during the surgery. The surgeon will also use a facial nerve monitor, a device placed on the skin to assist with identification of the facial nerve.

The procedure is performed in the operating room while you are under general anesthesia.

A cut is made on the skin around the ear and the facial nerve is identified before the parotid gland is altered. Often, a small defect in the gland is left, which can be filled in using soft tissue and muscle flaps.


Following surgery, you will be observed overnight in the hospital and discharged the next day.

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