What is the anatomy of the parotid space relevant to deep neck infections?

Updated: Apr 30, 2020
  • Author: Alan D Murray, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Answer

Parotid space

  • The parotid space is enclosed by the superficial layer of the deep cervical fascia. This is an incomplete enclosure because the superomedial aspect of the gland is not covered. This discontinuity allows communication between the parapharyngeal space and the parotid space.

  • The parotid space is crossed by the external carotid artery, the posterior facial vein, and the facial nerve.

  • Infections in the parotid space often occur in dehydrated, debilitated patients with poor oral hygiene who develop salivary duct obstruction.

  • Pain, edema, and erythema in the region of the parotid are typically observed with fever. Trismus is a later finding.


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