Your Care at Home After a Parotidectomy
What to Expect
You can expect to have an incision and a drainage tube in place. The drainage tube may be
removed the next day. You may still have drainage from the old drain site for the next day or
two. The drainage may look blood-tinged to yellowish straw-colored. There is a chance you will
have some numbness, tingling, or decreased feeling around the site. There may also be decreased
movement of the muscles on that side of your face. This is due to swelling and is short-term, so
it should improve. Your doctor will tell you if surgery has any lasting effect on the facial nerve.
You will have numbness of the ear lobe that will be permanent.
You may have some pain. For relief, use your pain medicine. You can expect soreness when
you chew foods. You may want to eat softer foods so you don’t have to chew as much. You
may also want to take your pain medicine about 30 minutes before eating to help reduce the pain.
What to Do
For the next 2 weeks keep your head raised at least 30 θ when you lie down. An easy way to
do this is by using at least 2 pillows to raise your head.
Avoid strenuous activity for the first 2-4 weeks or as directed by your doctor. No jogging,
aerobics, swimming, or lifting more than 25 pounds.
Check your incision for any signs of infection. Watch for
○ Warmth at the site
○ Any pus-like drainage
Clean your incision daily with mild soap and water. Apply antibiotic ointment only if your
doctor instructs you to do so.
You may shower 24 hours after your drainage tube is removed.
Do not drive or drink alcohol while taking any opioid pain medicine
Do not use a heating pad because of the risk of burns to the skin.
Do not take aspirin, ibuprofen, or other blood-thinning products until your doctor says you
When to Call Your Doctor
Please call your doctor if you notice:
Extreme bleeding which is bleeding that soaks a gauze dressing in 10 minutes or less and
keeps soaking the gauze dressings for one hour.
Temperature greater than 100.5º F for two readings taken 4 hours apart.
Pain that is not relieved by medicine.
Any signs of infection.
Increased swelling of your face or neck.
Any changes in facial movement that seem to be different and are not an improvement
(e.g. facial droop on one side that wasn’t present after surgery or is worse than it was at
If you have any questions or problems once you are home, please call.
ENT Clinic, Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, (608) 263-6190
After 5:00 pm or weekends, call (608) 262-0486. This will give you the paging operator. Ask
for the ENT doctor on-call. Leave your name, area code and phone number. The doctor will call
If you live out of the area, please call 1-800-323-8942.
The Spanish version of this Health Facts for You is #7096
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright ©2/2015. University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5320.