The parotid glands, the largest of your salivary glands, are located on the sides of your face, in front of your ears. Swelling of the parotid glands may cause mid-facial or even jawline fullness. Parotid swelling may be caused by sialadenitis (inflammation of the salivary gland and its ducts), HIV/AIDS, cancers, or most commonly, benign (noncancerous) growths called Warthin’s parotid tumors. The cause of Warthin’s parotid tumors is unknown; however, the tumor usually appears as a painless swelling and mainly affects men, smokers, and the elderly. Although some cases of Warthin’s parotid tumors have no symptoms whatsoever, others may be marked by:
- Swollen salivary glands
- Bulge by the lower jaw
- Jaw pain
- Facial nerve paralysis
- Ringing in the ears
- Loss of hearing
To confirm a diagnosis of Warthin’s tumor, Dr. Yagoda will obtain a full history and conduct a physical exam to detect abnormal swelling of the neck and jaw, facial nerve abnormalities, and muscle dysfunction. She may also order blood tests and radiographic tests such as X-rays, a CAT scan, or an MRI to determine the location and size of the tumor.
Treatments for Warthin’s tumor vary depending on the size of the tumor, whether it is growing, and your level of discomfort. Most often, the tumor is removed though a careful surgical procedure.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please schedule a comprehensive consultation with Dr. Yagoda. As both a facial plastic surgeon and otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor), she offers a full complement of medical and aesthetic services for superior patient care.
Read about Dr. Yagoda’s Integrative Post Operative Care Program