Accessory parotid glands

Accessory parotid glands are a normal variant and represent ectopic salivary tissue separate from, but usually in close proximity to, the main parotid glands 1. Occasionally the accessory tissue is contiguous with the main glands.

Accessory parotid glands are commonly picked up incidentally on ultrasound; seen in ~20% of the general population 2.

Located on the lateral aspect of the masseter muscle, anterior to the main parotid gland, usually superior (occasionally anterior) to the main parotid duct (Stensen duct) 2,3.

Accessory parotid glands have their own blood supply and secondary duct emptying into the main parotid duct 4.

Accessory parotid glands have the same US echotexture, CT density and MRI signal as the main parotid glands.

Any disorder that affects the main parotid gland may also affect the accessory parotid tissue, but tumours of the accessory parotid glands are rare 5,6.

Head and neck anatomy
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Article information

rID: 30211
System: Head & Neck
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Accessory parotid gland
  • Accessory parotid glands
  • Accessory parotids

Cases and figures

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    Case 1: axial CT
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    Case 1: coronal CT
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    Case 2
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    Case 3
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    Case 4
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