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Parotidectomy: Before Your Surgery

What is a parotidectomy?

Parotidectomy is the removal of the parotid gland. This gland is found below the ear. It makes saliva. The saliva enters the mouth through a tube (duct) near the back teeth.

The gland is taken out to remove a blockage in the parotid duct. This can be caused by a stone, scarring, or a tumour. Most tumours that grow in the parotid gland are benign, meaning they are not cancer.

You will be asleep during the surgery. The doctor will take out the gland through a cut (incision) in your neck and in front of your ear. The incision usually heals without leaving an obvious scar.

You will likely have a tube called a drain placed behind your ear. This lets fluid out of the incision. Your doctor will probably take this out a few days after your surgery.

Your doctor will tell you if you need to come back to have stitches taken out.

You may be able to return to work or your normal routine after a few weeks. How long it will take depends on several things, such as how much tissue was taken out, how quickly you recover, and the kind of work you do.

How do you prepare for surgery?

Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.

Preparing for surgery

  • Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
  • Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • If you take a medicine that prevents blood clots, your doctor may tell you to stop taking it before your surgery. Or your doctor may tell you to keep taking it. (These medicines include aspirin and other blood thinners.) Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Tell your doctor ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your surgery. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the surgery and how soon to do it.
  • Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance care plan. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It's a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.

What happens on the day of surgery?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be cancelled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, take them with only a sip of water.
  • Take a bath or shower before you come in for your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • Do not shave the surgical site yourself.
  • Take off all jewellery and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.

At the hospital or surgery centre

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • The area for surgery is often marked to make sure there are no errors.
  • You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. You will be asleep during the surgery.
  • The surgery will take about 3 to 4 hours.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your surgery.
  • You become ill before the surgery (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the surgery.

Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.