Sometimes, it isn’t just the aging process that causes facial skin to hang in asymmetric and unappealing folds and protruberances. There are medical problems, such as swollen parotid glands, that can add bulk to the mid-face and fullness to the jawline and neck.
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 tumors. The cause of Warthin’s 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 tumor have no symptoms whatsoever, others may be marked by:
- Jaw pain
- Facial nerve paralysis
- Ringing in the ears
- Loss of hearing
To identify the cause of parotid gland enlargement, 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 evaluate the extent of the growth.
Treatments for enlargement of the parotid gland vary depending on the type of the problem and its size. Remedies also depend on whether the gland is growing, your level of physical discomfort and aesthetic concern. Many times, an enlarged gland is removed though a careful surgical approach with incisions identical to those of a facelift. A cosmetic benefit of that surgery is that it additionally provides a lifting and tightening of that side of the face, in the same way that a facelift does.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please schedule a comprehensive consultation in our NYC office 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 and is an expert in functional facelift.
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