The Facelift Approach to the Parotid Gland


The parotid gland is a major salivary gland located in the cheek. It is located in front and below the ear and creates contour to the face. Its function is to produce saliva, which drains into the mouth through a small opening in the side of the cheek. Every person has three pairs of major salivary glands: parotid glands, submandibular glands, and sublingual glands. The parotid glands are located in the cheeks, the submandibular glands are located behind the jaw, and the sublingual glands are located below the tongue. While most individuals will go through life without every knowing they have salivary glands in these locations, they can sometimes be affected by various disease. These include problems such as infection, salivary stones (similar to kidney stones), inflammation, and tumors. The tumors that occur in salivary glands can be malignant or benign. Thankfully, 75% of the tumors that arise in the parotid gland are benign, while the remaining 25% are malignant. A needle biopsy can commonly be performed to help aid in diagnosis; however, these biopsies are not always accurate.

Given his training in Head and Neck Surgery as well as Facial Plastic Surgery, Dr. Namin has extensive training regarding the management of salivary gland disorders. Both the parotid glands and submandibular glands are manipulated and sometimes partially removed during facelift and neck lift surgery.

Dr. Namin can utilize the same incision that is used in facelift surgery to expose and remove tumors from the parotid gland. He has published this technique in the Facial Plastic Surgery and Aesthetic Medicine Video Journal. This incision avoids the modified Blair incision, which curves down into the neck.

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