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Overview of Reconstruction Options

Parotid bed reconstruction is designed to fill in the depression caused by removal of some, or all of the parotid gland. The more parotid gland that is removed, the greater the benefit of reconstruction.

The parotid bed will fill in with some scar tissue after surgery, and reconstruction may not be necessary for partial parotid removal. The amount of scar tissue that forms will vary by patient.

The most important thing is that the tumor is properly and completely removed. Surgeons who perform parotid surgery realize that this surgery needs to be performed on a highly visible area of the body, and patients want their face to look as normal as possible after surgery.

It is very important for the patient and surgeon to have a thorough discussion about whether or not the patient will need reconstruction. The patient and surgeon should have a common vision about what the patient’s face will look like after surgery.

A surgeon will generally take several factors into consideration when deciding on the best reconstruction option, including:

  • Amount of parotid gland removed
     
  • Degree of the parotid defect
     
  • Thickness of the parotid gland
     
  • Health condition of the patient
     
  • Patient preference

There are several reconstruction options depending on each patient’s circumstances. As with any procedure, there are pros and cons with each technique. The patient and surgeon should discuss these options and collectively decide on the best course of action.

It is important for patients to remember that any time something is taken out or removed from the body that there will be a donor site defect.

The key is for the patient and surgeon to select a reconstruction option that will cause the least donor site defects, and one that will produce the best outcome for the patient.

Refer to the other pages in this section for more information on specific reconstruction methods.

References

1. Moore, EJ and Olsen, KD (2007). Total Parotidectomy. In KD Olsen, Salivary Gland Disease and Treatment (pp. 214-233). Rochester, MN: Mayo Clinic Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery.

2. Olsen, KD (2004). Superficial Parotidectomy. In KD Olsen, Salivary Gland Disease and Treatment (pp. 234-246). Rochester, MN: Mayo Clinic Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery.

3. Mayo Clinic. (2018, October 8.) Mayo Clinic Parotid Tumor Guide: Parotid Tumor Surgery [Video File]. Retrieved by https://youtu.be/CD60VJxATek

4. Mayo Clinic. (2018, October 8.) Mayo Clinic Parotid Tumor Guide: Recovery after Parotid Surgery [Video File]. Retrieved by https://youtu.be/HK_9SJgHwfQ

5. The content in this section was drafted in consultation with Eric J. Moore, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.