Treatment and Timeframe for Leaking Parotid After Facelift

I had a face lift and now have a parotid gland that is leaking. Drain inserted but flow is not decreasing. What is treatment and time frame for this problem?

Doctor Answers 6

Parotid Leakage After Face Lift

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Dear Facelift patient,
I have performed several thousand face lifts and I have had one situation similar to yours, my patient did well after 3 weeks. The treatment of choice was a conservative one. Pressure dressing, drain in place, avoidance of spicy and sour diets, as well as anti-cholinergic medications are proper treatments for leaking parotid gland. Be patience and hang in there, you’ll get better. Good luck and good healing

Orange County Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 224 reviews

Salivary leak from parotid following face lift

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The parotid flow may encourage persistance of the leak. Therefore avoid diets that promote excessive salivation. Typically numerous drugs with anti-cholinergic side effects may exert anti-sialogogue (ceasing salifvation) effects. You may want to explore some of these medications with your physican.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Parotid fistula

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 Let me confess.  I have been doing face lifts for roughly 18 years now.  During an educational session as a resident, one doctor asked about management of this complication, and was rebuffed for getting it at all!  Unfortunately, one time I personally had this problem myself with a patient, so I am sympathetic to that  doctor, and understanding of your situation.

Let me share with you a about this.  Treatment options are several.  if you are decreasing output with a drain, continue this.  Sometimes compression may help.  Sometimes it is better without a drain at all. Sometimes it is a good idea to Rx drugs that dry out the saliva, like atropine.  Repeat surgery is generally not needed, and if done, must be carefully weighed.

This may take weeks, but it should resolve.

Hang in there.

Your leaking parotid salivary gland, after facelift surgery, may benefit from a Botox treatment.

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I have personally treated parotid salivary collections with serial needle aspirations rather than drainage; but there is no right or wrong way to treat this.

Your drainage will likely slow down and finally stop after 2-3 weeks. I think a compression-dressing is helpful, along with manual massage after meals. This will allow the flap to adhere, and stop the leak.

Botox treatments to the parotid gland will slow the drainage, and may speed recovery. Please continue close follow-up with your surgeon for specific advice regarding your particular situation.

I hope this is helpful for you.

Eric M. Joseph, MD
West Orange Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 435 reviews

Salivary leak

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The traditional methods for a sialocele (leaking parotid) include pressure dressings and treatment with anticholinergics (reduces the salivary flow)  allowing the leaking duct (tube that carries saliva) to seal.  The time frame for the leak to seal varies from patient to patient.  Good Luck.

You need to give 4-6 weeks to it resolve

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If the leakage not resolved in 4-6 weeks, the surgical exploration and ligation of the leaking duct may needed. This a rare condition and time will improve the amount of the leakage. If you can wait ( the drainage does not cause too much skin irritation) the repair will be more successful.

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.