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Overview of Recurrence of Tumor

In general, the recurrence rates for benign parotid tumors that are correctly and completely removed during the initial surgery are very low.

The recurrence rates for malignant tumors depends on the type of malignant tumor, as some malignant parotid tumors can recur locally in the salivary gland, spread to lymph nodes, or spread to other parts of the body.

The most important consideration for a patient is to make sure that they have a skilled and experienced surgeon performing their surgery.

The capsules of parotid tumors are very thin. The inside of the capsule is filled with granules of tumor cells. It is important for the surgeon to keep that capsule intact during the surgery to prevent the tumor cells from spilling into the parotid gland.

Some malignant tumors may not have a defined capsule, and some benign tumors have tumor cells that extend beyond the capsule. It is crucial that the surgeon performing this surgery has the experience necessary to properly handle tumors with and without a capsule.

A patient should have a discussion with their surgeon regarding the likelihood of having a recurrence based on the parotid tumor type, and the success of the surgery.

Patients should have a clear understanding of the type of surveillance or follow up plan that is required after surgery. 

Refer to the other tabs in this section for detailed information regarding the causes, signs and symptoms, and treatment of recurrences.

For more information about recurrences, click here to watch Video 6 in the Mayo Clinic Parotid Tumor Guide series.


1. Phillips, PP and Olsen, KD (1995). Recurrent Pleomorphic Adenoma of the Parotid Gland: Report of 126 Cases and a Review of Literature. In KD Olsen, Salivary Gland Disease and Treatment (pp. 256-260). Rochester, MN: Mayo Clinic Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery.

2. Olsen, KD and Daube, JR (1994). Intraoperative Monitoring of the Facial Nerve: An Aid in the Management of Parotid Gland Recurrent Pleomorphic Adenomas. In KD Olsen, Salivary Gland Disease and Treatment (pp. 261-264). Rochester, MN: Mayo Clinic Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery.

3. Mayo Clinic. (2018, October 8.) Mayo Clinic Parotid Tumor Guide: Recurrence [Video File]. Retrieved by