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What to Expect at Your First Visit

After discovering a lump or tumor in their parotid gland, a patient will need to be evaluated by a proper specialist

The process that is followed during that visit will depend on whether or not the patient has already had diagnostic testing completed, or if they need diagnostic tests to be performed.

What Happens at the Appointment?

Collection of Background Information, such as: 

  • How long have you had the lump or tumor?
  • How did you discover it?
  • What, if any, symptoms do you have?

Physical Exam:

  • The physician will feel the patient’s jaw, neck, parotid area, and throat for lumps and swelling.
  • The physician will also check to see if the lump can be moved around, or if it appears to be stuck to any surrounding structures.

Diagnostic Testing:

  • If the patient has not had previous diagnostic testing and/or the physician needs more information, the physician may order diagnostic tests, such as a CT Scan, MRI, or FNA.
  • These tests are needed for the physician to gather more information about the patient’s situation and to help the physician determine the best treatment plan for the patient.

Prepare for the Appointment

It is important for patients to realize that they may become emotional and overwhelmed during the visit because there will be a lot of new and unfamiliar information provided to them. It is completely normal for patients to feel that way.

It will be helpful to plan ahead and organize your thoughts and notes before the visit, so you don’t forget things if you become emotional during the appointment. It can also be very helpful to write down questions in advance, so you can make sure that the physician covers all of the topics that are important to you.

It is also important that patients ask questions if they you don’t understand a term the physician is using or do not understand the information that is being provided to them.

It is recommended that patients write down the information that they are provided by the physician to help them remember the information. Patients often fear the unknown and having information about your treatment plan will often times help alleviate some of that fear and anxiety.

For more information on what to expect at your appointment, click here to watch Video 1 in the Mayo Clinic Parotid Tumor Guide series.


1. Mayo Clinic. (2018, October 8.) Mayo Clinic Parotid Tumor Guide: Preparing for Your First Visit with Your Head and Neck Surgeon [Video File]. Retrieved by

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