QS Study

Parotid Gland

In humans, the two parotid glands are present on either side of the mouth and in front of both ears. It is the largest salivary gland situated below the external acoustic meatus, between the ramus of the mandible and the sternomastoid. They are responsible for producing saliva to aid in chewing and digesting food.


Below the external acoustic meatus between the ramus of the mandible and the sternomastoid. They are located just in front of the ears on each side of the face, are the largest of the three sets of major salivary glands.

Weight – 25gm.

External features –

(i) Shape: The gland resembles a three-sided pyramid, the apex of which is directed downwards.

(ii) Four surfaces:

  1. Superior.
  2. Anteromedial.
  3. Superficial.
  4. Posteromedial.

(iii) Three borders:

  • Anterior.
  • Medial.
  • Posterior.

Parotid Gland 1

Fig: Parotid Gland

Blood supply – The external carotid artery and its terminal branches within the gland, namely, the superficial temporal and the Maxillary artery, supply the parotid gland. Venous return is to the retromandibular veins.

  • Arterial supply: External carotid artery & its branches.
  • Venous drainage: Veins drain into the external jugular vein.

Nerve supply

  1. Parasympathetic supply: by auriculotemporal nerve (secretomotor).
  2. Sympathetic supply: by plexus around external carotid artery (vasomotor).
  3. Sensory: By auriculotemporal nerve.

Lymphatic drainage – The gland is mainly drained into the preauricular or parotid lymph nodes which ultimately drain to the deep cervical chain.

  • Lymph drains 1st to parotid nodes.
  • Then upper deep cervical nodes.


Gland proper, duct & alveoli: From ectoderm.

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