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Meet Dr. Larian

Dr. Babak Larian, the Chairman and Director of the CENTER for Advanced Parotid Surgery in Los Angeles, is a highly experienced and reputable board-certified surgeon...
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Blog

  • Do Salivary Stones Require Surgery?
    Salivary gland stones, or sialolithiasis, are small calcium deposits that block the flow of saliva, which if not removed can lead to swelling of the salivary gland, inflammation, infection, Read more >
  • Why a Parotid Tumor Requires Immediate Medical AttentionWhy a Parotid Tumor Requires Immediate Medical Attention
    Many people have experienced swollen glands at some point in their lives. However, if you have a lump close to your ear that lingers for more than a couple weeks, Read more >
  • 6 Little-Known Facts About Parotid Tumors How Expert Surgeons Perform Parotid Reconstruction
    If your parotid gland function has been impaired for any reason, such as a parotid tumor, you may need surgery. Read more >

Effects of Head and Neck Radiation on the Parotid Glands

Many patients diagnosed with a form of head and neck cancer must undergo some type of radiation treatment. Unfortunately, radiation of the head and neck region often has a negative effect on the salivary glands. The major pairs of salivary glands produce the majority of the saliva needed for proper oral health. However, when these glands are damaged by radiation exposure, it can significantly impact the patient’s quality of life and produce uncomfortable side effects, including salivary gland cancer. Radiation exposure is the most widely known cause of salivary gland tumors, which are most commonly found in the parotid glands. Babak Larian, MD, FACS, is a renowned parotid gland surgeon who utilizes minimally invasive surgical techniques to treat salivary gland tumors.

Preventing Salivary Gland Damage

If you are preparing to undergo radiation therapy for some form of head and neck cancer, such as oral or laryngeal cancer, or another medical condition, it is important to be aware of the possible side effects it can have on your salivary glands. Discuss the radiation treatment carefully with your doctor and ask if there are any preventative measures that can be taken to protect the salivary glands.

Most patients experience some degree of reduced saliva production during and after radiation therapy. In many cases, saliva production gradually returns to a functional state within a year of undergoing treatment. In some cases, however, a salivary gland tumor develops years later following radiation exposure.

Parotid Cancer Treatment

Salivary gland tumors are most commonly found in the parotid glands, and the treatment generally involves the surgical removal of the parotid gland tumor or the entire parotid gland. Dr. Babak Larian is a pioneer in the field of minimally invasive parotid gland surgery and has successfully removed parotid gland cancer in countless patients.

When a parotid glad tumor is cancerous, the person will have symptoms such as:

  • Growing mass
  • Pain and swelling in the face
  • Facial paralysis

Diagnosing parotid cancer involves a physical exam as well as a fine needle biopsy of the parotid gland tumor. Imaging tests will likely be performed as well. If surgery is indicated, Dr. Larian will try to perform a micro-parotidectomy, in which he removes the cancerous parotid gland through an incision much smaller than the one used in a traditional parotidectomy. The incision size and location will, however, be determined by the size of the parotid gland tumor.

Dr. Larian performs all parotid gland surgery with the assistance of world-renowned facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon Babak Azizzadeh, MD, FACS, to ensure the protection of the facial nerves and the best possible aesthetic result.

Contact Dr. Larian for a Consultation Today

If you have undergone radiation therapy for head and neck cancer and are experiencing decreased salivary gland function, or have a salivary gland mass, please seek medical treatment. Dr. Larian is known for his minimally invasive surgical treatment of parotid tumors and parotid cancers, and he would like to meet with you to see if you are a candidate for surgery. Contact Dr. Larian at the CENTER for Advanced Parotid Surgery by calling (310) 461-0300 to schedule a consultation.

To learn more about the effects of radiation on the salivary glands, contact our office.


Request your consultation with Dr. Larian today.
Call us at 310.997.2409 to schedule an appointment or

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Chief of Head & Neck Surgery at Cedars-Sinai
Assistant Clinical Professor of Surgery at UCLA