Plemorphic Adenoma of the Parotid Gland

Sonia Arunabh, MD

A mass on the right side of her face-over the right parotid region-had been growing for the past 4 years, according to this 65-year-old woman. There was no evidence of facial nerve involvement.

A mass on the right side of her face-over the right parotid region-had been growing for the past 4 years, according to this 65-year-old woman. There was no evidence of facial nerve involvement.

Aspiration biopsy of the mass revealed it to be a mixed parotid tumor (pleomorphic adenoma), and the patient was referred for resection.

Benign, mixed parotid tumors account for nearly two thirds of all parotid tumors, writes Dr Sonia Arunabh of Flushing, NY. They occur predominantly in women, with a peak incidence in the fifth decade. These tumors, which are usually in the posterior of the parotid gland, are slow-growing, painless, and well-demarcated. Palpation reveals a smooth, firm, mobile lesion, and facial nerve function-as in this patient-is usually normal. Other symptoms, such as pain, are often absent, and these tumors may attain a considerable size before patients seek medical care. Treatment consists of parotidectomy, after which the recurrence rate is low.