Surgical anatomy of the parotid duct with emphasis on the major tributaries forming the duct and the relationship of the facial nerve to the duct

Alan T. Richards, Nicholas Digges, Neil S. Norton, Thomas H. Quinn, Phillip Say, Chad Galer, Kathryn Lydiatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although there is a great amount in the literature to describe the anatomy of the parotid gland as a whole, little attention is given to the parotid duct. The purpose of this study is to examine the surgical anatomy of the parotid duct with special emphasis placed on the major tributaries forming the parotid duct and the relationship of the facial nerve to the duct. Twenty-nine fresh cadaver halves were dissected and the branching pattern of the ducts, position within the parotid, and their relationship to the facial nerve were studied. Of the complete heads studied, the parotid duct had the same pattern in 78.6% on the right and left sides. The parotid ducts in 31.0% of the half heads presented as a single discernible duct from parotid papilla to within the gland. In 62.1% of the half heads, the ducts were formed by a branching pattern within the gland. In the ducts with a branching pattern, 48.3% displayed a bifurcated pattern, 6.9% were trifurcated, and 6.9% had multiple branches. In 6.9% of the half heads studied, the parotid ducts bifurcated distal to the parotid gland. In all cases, the deep lobe of the parotid enveloped the parotid duct; only small ductules connected the superficial lobe with the duct. The facial nerve and its branches were always observed lateral to the parotid duct. Because one dissects lateral to the facial nerve during a superficial parotidectomy, generally the parotid duct remains intact and potential complications such as facial paralysis, sialoceles, and fistulizations are thereby minimized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-467
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Anatomy
Volume17
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2004

Keywords

  • Facial nerve
  • Parotid duct
  • Parotidectomy
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology

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