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Practical Recovery Tips

The Parotid Patient Project would like to give special thanks to parotid patient and three time cancer survivor, Roni Wakelin Power, for her assistance with creating this list.

  • Eat a soft, bland diet for a period of time after surgery, such as low-sodium soups, smoothies, oatmeal, mashed potatoes, protein shakes, eggs, and pudding.
  • It is helpful for patients to wear button-up shirts to avoid having to pull tops over their head and neck.
  • It may be difficult for some people to fully open their mouth after surgery. It is helpful to have a baby spoon and a baby toothbrush to use when you cannot open your mouth all of the way.
  • Sleep at 45-degree angle for several days after surgery to prevent the fluids from pooling in one area. It may be helpful to have a wedge pillow to help you sleep at this angle.
  • Once a patient is able to sleep in a normal position, it is helpful for patients to have a travel neck pillow, which can be laid down flat on a regular pillow. A patient can then rest their head on the neck pillow by placing the surgical ear through the open hole to prevent the ear from hurting or getting injured while the patient sleeps on the surgery side.
  • Stay ahead of the pain. Take your prescribed pain pills on time and take stool softeners when you use these pills.
  • Do not lift anything over 10 lbs., including children, for two weeks after surgery and avoid bending or stretching.
  • Do not do any vigorous exercise for two weeks, but it can be helpful to take short walks in the days following surgery.
  • Do not drive if you are taking prescribed pain pills, or if you are having trouble fully turning your head and neck.
  • Put sunscreen on your incision after the stitches or surgical glue are removed to avoid having the sun discolor your scar.


R.W. Power (personal communication, October 28, 2019) provided these practical tips in her Monday Memo post in Parotid People Facebook group.