The parotid gland is a major salivary gland that sits just in front of the ear deep to the skin. The facial nerve courses through the parotid gland as it travels to innervate the facial musculature. The vast majority of parotid tumors are benign tumors. However, in the minority of parotid tumors that are malignant, the facial nerve can be affected by the malignancy. Removal of these tumors will require facial nerve sacrifice and nerve grafting at the time of the procedure.
Removal of benign parotid tumors can result in surgical injury to the facial nerve as well. Patients with facial paralysis following parotid surgery are encourage to seek comprehensive evalution at the California Facial Nerve Center to determine treatment options.