Parotid duct

The parotid duct, also known as Stensen's duct, connects the parotid gland and the buccal mucosa.

The parotid duct passes through the buccal fat, buccopharyngeal fascia and the buccinator muscle. Its opening to vestibule of the mouth occurs next to the upper second molar tooth at the parotid ampulla. The buccinator muscle ensures that ballooning of the duct does not occur during blowing.


Several other structures run alongside the parotid duct:

Blockage of the parotid duct can occur secondary to salivary duct stones or external compression. Either cause of obstruction can cause pain and parotitis.

It is named after the Danish anatomist Niels Stensen (1638-1686) 2 who first fully described its existence although several other anatomists had noted its existence 3.

Head and neck anatomy
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Article Information

rID: 10458
System: Head & Neck
Section: Anatomy
Tag: cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Stensen's duct
  • Duct of Stensen
  • Stensen duct

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Cases and Figures

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    Case 1: parotid sialadenitis
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