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A parotid tumour refers to the abnormal growth of cells in the parotid glands.

Most people have never heard of parotid tumours, but they can be a serious condition. This article will provide an introduction to these tumours, including what they are and how they are typically treated. If you have been referred for a parotidectomy, it is important to learn as much as possible about this type of tumour so that you can make the best decisions for your health.

What are parotid tumours?

Parotid tumours are growths that develop in the parotid glands. The parotid glands are located on either side of the face in front of the ears — they are salivary glands that play a role in the production of saliva, which is important for both the chewing and digestion of food.

Although tumours can develop in any of the salivary glands, they occur most commonly in the parotid glands. Parotid glands are often benign, but it is also possible for them to be cancerous. Some of the most common symptoms include swelling in the jaw and/or face; as well as numbness and a loss of movement in the face.  

How are they treated?  

In most cases, parotid tumours are treated surgically. There are a number of surgical options, including superficial parotidectomy and total parotidectomy. During superficial parotidectomy, part of the parotid gland is removed along with some of the surrounding healthy tissue. In the case of a total parotidectomy, on the other hand, the entire parotid gland is removed. Usually, a total parotidectomy is recommended for the treatment of large tumours, as well as tumours that affect the deep parts of the parotid gland.

If the parotid tumour is cancerous and the disease has spread into the nearby bone and muscles, more extensive surgery is sometimes necessary.

What other issues affect the parotid glands?

Besides the treatment of parotid tumours, parotid surgery may also be recommended for a range of other issues. These include parotid stones, which occur when calcium deposits form in the salivary gland; parotid cysts, which are masses that can occur in the parotid glands; and parotitis, a condition that can disrupt the proper function of the parotid gland.

Parotid tumours and other issues related to the parotid glands can be diagnosed in a number of ways, including by means of a physical examination; biopsy; and imaging tests such as ultrasound, MRI and CT scans.

How can we help?

Associate Professor Navin Niles offers a range of endocrine procedures, including parotidectomy for the removal of parotid tumours in the parotid gland. If you have been referred for a parotidectomy procedure, Associate Professor Navin Niles will make an incision near your ear, taking special care to avoid damage to nearby structures. The specific procedure that you have will depend on your particular needs — options include superficial parotidectomy, in which part of the parotid gland is removed; and total parotidectomy in which the whole parotid gland is removed.

If you would like to find out more about the parotidectomy procedure and what it involves, please have a look here.  

Associate Professor Navin Niles also offers a number of other endocrine surgeries, including hemithyroidectomy, parathyroidectomy, and thyroidectomy. If you would like to find out about the full scope of Associate Professor Navin Niles’ services, please have a look here.

To arrange a consultation with Associate Professor Niles, please contact us here or give us a call on (02) 9810 9839. Associate Professor Niles and his team will guide you through your treatment and address any questions or concerns that you have at any stage during the process. Each treatment is customised to suit the individual patient, and you can rest assured that you will receive high quality, personalised care.