Parotid Gland

The Parotid gland is the largest of the paired salivary glands. It is an irregular, lobulated, yellowish mass wrapped in a fibrous capsule (the parotid fascia). It is located anterior to the ear. A superficial portion lies on the surface of the masseter and a deep portion is wedged between the ramus of the mandible and the mastoid process. It is innervated by the lesser petrosal branch (secretomotor) of the glossopharyngeal nerve (CN IX). The postganglionic fibers reach the parotid gland via the auriculotemporal nerve.

During parotidectomy, care must be taken to avoid damaging the facial nerve (CN VII), the external carotid and superficial temporal arteries, and the auriculotemporal nerve.