Among the salivary glands, only the parotid glands have their own lymphatics due to their late encapsulation during embryologic development.
Parotid nodes receive drainage from cutaneous sites, especially the areas around the ear, forehead/temple, and cheek.
Based on cadaver studies 1,2, the vast majority of parotid glands have identifiable lymph nodes (90%). Of these, about two-thirds have lymph nodes in only the superficial lobe, while one-third have nodes in both the superficial and deep lobes. Superficial lobes have on average three nodes, while deep lobes should have no more than three nodes. Altogether, superficial lobe nodes account for about 90% of all intraparotid lymph nodes. Within the superficial lobe, nodes tend to be located along the retromandibular vein, particularly in the parotid tail.
Normal intraparotid lymph nodes measure <6 mm 3.
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