Parotid glands are the biggest salivary glands that can be found in the upper part of the cheek and toward the front of the ears. The parotid gland secretes saliva, which is crucial for the mastication, swallowing and digestion of foods. Problems can arise when the ducts are obstructed making it difficult for saliva to flow from the parotid gland into your mouth.
There are several common reasons for the obstruction and they include the presence of salivary gland stones and scar tissue among other causes. However, more severe reasons for the obstruction in the parotid gland include the presence of foreign bodies that enter into the duct or a neoplasm (tumour) which occurs when there is an atypical growth of cells.
Parotid surgery is a necessary step in removing a part or all of the parotid gland. Our team at Amandela ENT head and neck centre have compiled a short list of postoperative care tips following a parotid surgery. We have also singled out certain warning signs following your parotid surgery that you should take careful note of.
1. Take Your Required Medication
Following parotid surgery, our ENT doctors at Amandela ENT head and neck centre may prescribe you with antibiotics. If you have been prescribed antibiotics following parotid surgery ensure that you complete the whole course of antibiotics to reduce the likelihood of any infections developing in the surgical area. Additionally, if your attending doctor prescribes you with pain medication for any discomfort following parotid surgery, take it as advised.
2. Get Adequate Rest and Avoid Strenuous Activity
Furthermore, you should get enough rest after the parotid surgery. Adequate rest and sleep can hasten the recovery process. We strongly advise patients to refrain from any sort of heavy lifting or strenuous activities during the week after your parotid surgery. This is to ensure that your wound does not open up and begin to bleed again. If you would like to exercise, walking is a good alternative to participating in strenuous activity.
It is recommended that you ensure that the dressing area around the wound is kept clean and dry while you bathe. Remember to be extra gentle with the surgical wound so that you can avoid disturbing it. Even the slightest disturbance can impede and prolong the recovery process.
3. Post-Surgery Diet
In terms of your diet following parotid surgery, you will not be required to adhere to a soft diet. However, in the case that you do find it difficult or painful to swallow food, it is recommended to start off with cool beverages or foods like ice cream. This will greatly ease your discomfort when swallowing foods. You can gradually move onto softer foods like mashed potatoes and porridge. Avoid hard foods that require chewing. A smoothie is a great and nutritious option that can satiate your hunger and which requires little to no chewing.
4. Caring For The Surgical Area
The next thing you should consider is care for the surgical area. The doctors at Amandela ENT head and neck centre will advise on the proper care of the surgical area. During the post-op period in the hospital following the parotid surgery, it is quite common to have a drain inserted into the wound to remove excessive fluid build up. The drain will eventually be removed when the fluid buildup remains low.
Warning Signs To Take Note Of
As with any surgical procedure, there are certain warning signs to take note of. The first is the onset of an infection. These include symptoms like:
- A high fever (body temperature of 38 degree celsius or higher)
- General feeling of malaise
- Inflammation or swelling of the wound area
Another warning sign to consider is prolonged weakness in the facial nerves. While the nerves that control your facial and mouth movement and sensations may be weakened from surgery, it should not be a permanent effect. It usually lasts for a period of time, but that may fluctuate from person to person. Report to your doctor immediately if the acute weakness in your face occurs after returning home following parotid surgery. However, rest assured that delayed acute weakness in the facial nerve is extremely rare.
The final warning sign you should look out for is severe bleeding right after the surgery. While a minimal amount of blood after surgery is completely normal, excessive bleeding is a serious complication that should be brought up to your attending physician.
If you experience any of the aforementioned warning signs, visit the Amandela ENT head and neck centre immediately. If you need urgent care after operating hours, we recommend that you go to the A&E department at your nearest hospital.
Schedule A Consultation With Our ENT Doctors At Amandela ENT Head and Neck Centre
If you are suffering from painful swelling of the parotid glands due to an obstruction of the ducts, make an appointment with our doctors at Amandela ENT Head and Neck Centre. Our doctors are determined to deliver patient-centric care so that you receive the right help to ease the inflammation and pain.
While parotid surgery is a necessary process to deal with the obstruction of the duct, it is important for you to follow these post-operative instructions to ensure a smooth recovery. Finally, take note of the aforementioned warning signs following the surgery which could signal certain and severe complications after the procedure. Click here to fix a consultation with our team of ENT doctors at Amandela ENT Head and Neck Centre.