Facial process of parotid gland

Case contributed by Dr Prashant Gupta


Pain right temporal region, prior history of right parotidectomy.

Patient Data

Age: 55 years
Gender: Female

MRI Neck with contrast

The right parotid gland is not visualised, soft tissue seen anterior to a hypertrophied left parotid that is similar in intensity and enhancement characteristics to the normal parotid parenchyma. No nodules or masses.

Mild edema in left ramus of mandible due to recent dental procedure.

Case Discussion

There are two types of anterior gland extensions: 

  • facial process: attached to the main gland
  •  detached glandular mass / accessory parotid gland: mean distance of separation from the gland of 6 mm

Accessory parotid glands are seen in 20% of the population. It usually occurs in a typical location i.e. overlying the masseter muscle and anterior to the parent gland. It lies superficial to the Stensen's duct and drains via an accessory duct into it. They have an independent blood supply from the transverse facial artery. These glands are usually small in size, may be multiple. Tumors of accessory glands are rare.

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Case information

rID: 43976
Published: 31st Mar 2016
Last edited: 10th Aug 2018
System: Head & Neck
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

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