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Parotidectomy or submandibular gland excision


The parotid gland is the largest of the salivary glands and lies on the cheek, just below the ear. The commonest reason for parotid surgery is the presence of a lump within the gland. The majority of these are benign, but they require removal to conform the diagnosis and to remove the risk of future cancerous change. Surgery is performed under a general anaesthetic, and involves removal of some (partial parotidectomy) or all (total parotidectomy) of the gland. The affected area of the parotid gland is removed preserving critical structures in the area including the facial nerve.

Further information on parotid surgery and parotidectomy from ENT UK is available here.


The submandibular glands lie just below the jaw. Surgery to remove the submandibular gland is usually performed for recurrent infection, stone disease or tumours. It involves a general anaesthetic and an incision in the skin of the neck. The whole submandibular gland is removed, preserving important nearby nerves and blood vessels.

Further information on submandibular gland surgery from ENT UK is available here.


After the operation a small drain is inserted, which is removed the next day. In most cases both parotidectomy and submandibular gland excision require an overnight stay in hospital. Skin incisions are usually closed with dissolvable stitches, which do not need to be removed. Patients are seen in clinic 2-3 weeks after surgery for a check up and to explain the laboratory results from any surgical specimens.

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