A parotidectomy is the surgical excision of the parotid gland, the major and largest of the salivary glands, located high in the neck in the preauricular area extending towards the cheek. This procedure is most typically performed due to neoplasms (tumours) growing in the parotid gland. The vast majority of primary parotid tumours are benign (noncancerous) but approximately 20% are found to be malignant (cancerous).
If surgery is required, at the time of consultation the doctor will discuss whether a superficial parotidectomy (which involves removing all of the gland superficial to the facial nerve), partial superficial parotidectomy (which involves removing only the portion of the gland surrounding a tumour or mass) or total parotidectomy (where the superficial gland is dissected free of all of the facial nerve branches to the extent feasible, and the branches are then completely mobilised and the deep portion of the gland removed) be deemed appropriate and this type of surgery requires a general anaesthetic. This can be discussed further at time of consultation.