Parotid Gland Tumor

The parotid gland is the largest of the salivary glands and is responsible for making saliva and facilitating chewing and swallowing to begin the digestion of starches. A Parotid tumor can be either benign (non-cancerous), as in most cases, or malignant (cancerous), which is less common, but potentially life-threatening. In rare cases, growths can be enlarged lymph nodes or non-parotid tumors which have spread into the parotid glands.

Parotid gland tumor are abnormal growths in the glands. Most of these growths are benign (non-cancerous), but occasionally they can be malignant (cancerous). On rare occasion, the growths can be enlarged lymph nodes or even non-parotid tumors which have spread into the parotid glands. Of tumors which arise from the parotid tissue, most are slow growing and benign. In contrast, malignant parotid tumors have a range of characteristics and types, with a few being fast growing and life-threatening.

Diagnosis of salivary gland disease depends on the careful taking of your history, a physical examination, and laboratory tests.

If your doctor suspects an obstruction of the major salivary glands, it may be necessary to anesthetize the opening of the salivary ducts in the mouth, and probe and dilate the duct to help an obstructive stone pass. Before these procedures, dental x-rays may show where the calcified stones are located.

If a mass is found in the salivary gland, it is helpful to obtain a CT scan or a MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). Sometimes, a fine needle aspiration biopsy in the doctor’s office is helpful. Rarely, dye will be injected through the parotid duct before an x-ray of the gland is taken (a sialogram).

A lip biopsy of minor salivary glands may be needed to identify certain autoimmune diseases.

Parotid gland tumor are usually treated with surgical removal of part or all of the affected gland, known as parotidectomy. ENT of NJ performs this procedure through highly effective and minimally invasive techniques on an outpatient basis.

* Also, a nerve monitor is used to protect the facial nerve during surgery.

*Some or all of the information found here can be attributed to The American Academy of Otolaryngology website