How Much Does Parotidectomy Surgery Cost?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 7, 2018

A parotidectomy is a major surgical procedure that removes the parotid gland,  a salivary gland located near the ear.  This procedure is performed if there is a mass contained within the parotid gland that is abnormal and problematic. These masses are due to benign tumors that are generally painless and can move around easily when manipulated.  Even though these masses may be harmless at first, this procedure must be performed since some of the masses can potentially become cancerous.  The price for a parotidectomy depends on the hospital fees, the surgeon, the inclusions in the bill and geographical location.

Surgery by Army Medicine, on Flickr
Surgery” (CC BY 2.0) by Army Medicine

How much does a parotidectomy cost?

On average, the salivary gland removal or parotidectomy can cost anywhere from $8,500 to $14,600 without insurance.  The cost usually involves physician, hospital, anesthesia services, and a two to four day hospital day.  The fee, depending on the hospital’s billing policy, should include the hospital stay and surgeon fees.

A member of Patients Forum said she paid a total of $10,000 when everything was factored in.  This included the room and board, medicine, supplies, lab work, recovery room, EKG, physician fees and anesthesiologist charge.

Parotidectomy overview

Before the surgery is even considered, your family doctor will refer you to an ENT specialist to examine the lump.  During this exam, they may recommend removing it just by feeling or may require blood work, a biopsy, a CT scan and/or x-rays to confirm the diagnosis.  While most of these tumors will be benign, some could be malignant, and most will play it safe and will remove it.

During this procedure, the parotid gland will be removed.  Under a general anesthesia, a cut will be made in the front of the ear, usually under the earlobe, and this incision will be made from the earlobe down to the side of the neck to expose the parotid gland.  Once this incision has been made, the part of the parotid gland will be removed.

Depending on the location of the mass, the surgery can take two to three hours to perform.  For instance, if the mass is located below the ear, the surgery could be much shorter than if it were located near the eye and further away from the ear.  According to, the surgery will take so long because the process involves highly technical microdissection tools as well as facial nerve monitoring.  It isn’t as simple as creating an incision and removing the mass.  Since the nerve that makes the face moves goes through the parotid gland, the surgeon must take the extra steps to protect it.  If he or she fails to do so, a patient may be unable to close their eyes, smile or even make a facial impression.

The recovery period for this particular surgery will take up to two months to heal properly.

What are the extra costs?

Lab work before the procedure, such as a CT scan, biopsy and bloodwork, may be billed separately.

For most hospital stays, outside bills can come from other sources such as the anesthesiologist and doctor.

Follow up appointments will be necessary to make sure the surgery is healing according to plan.  Most doctors will state that it will take upwards of four months to see a full recovery of the removal.  These follow-up appointments may be included in the initial charges, but others may charge extra fees.

Prescriptions will be needed during the healing process.

Tips to know

After the procedure, some patients may feel a stiffness feel in the neck or shoulder area, but it should go away after a few weeks by applying a special skin cream.

Major risks for the surgery may include facial paralysis if the facial nerve isn’t protected during the procedure.  Other risks may include infection and bleeding.

Once the operation is complete, the skin around the neck may become sweaty, especially when eating.  While it may seem troublesome, it can be treated with a simple roll-on antiperspirant.

When choosing any surgeon, find out how many procedures they have performed and how long they have been practicing after their residency.  If you don’t feel comfortable with the answers, it doesn’t hurt to get a second or even third opinion.

How can I save money?

Always check with your insurance provider to see if they can cover part of the cost for the procedure.  As long as it’s deemed medically necessary and the hospital is in network, you should be responsible for your co-pay and deductible.

If you don’t have insurance, be sure to haggle with your hospital.  Reputable hospitals will be more than happy to knock a certain percentage off your bill, especially if you are able to pay cash up front.

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