A parotidectomy is the surgical excision (removal) of the parotid gland, the major and largest of the salivary glands. The procedure is most typically performed due to neoplasms (tumors), which are growths of rapidly and abnormally dividing cells. Neoplasms can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). The majority of parotid gland tumors are benign, however 20% of parotid tumors are found to be malignant. A parotidectomy is mostly performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon and otolaryngologist.
Many different approaches are possible and variation naturally depends on the type of case. A parotidectomy is an inpatient (i.e. within a hospital) procedure versus an outpatient (clinic or out of hospital) procedure.
It is important to note that the specific surgery chosen is based on preservation of the facial nerve in order to avoid significant morbidities (diseases). Furthermore, there are still many controversies regarding the choice of surgery and incidence of cancer recurrence. Below indicates the various and main techniques typically associated with a parotidectomy:
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