September 24, 2010


Axial CT image of the neck shows an enlarged left parotid gland (star) with blurry margins, nearby fat stranding. There is no internal low attenuation areas.

  • Infection of the parotid gland caused by bacterial, viral pathogen or is calculus-induced.
  • Acute suppurative parotitis is usually unilateral
  • Bacterial parotitis is usually caused by S aureus (greater than 50% of cases) and anaerobic bacteria
  • May be complicated by abscess formation, thrombophlebitis, cranial nerve VII dysfunction
  • Treatment: hydration, antibiotics, possible drainage if an abscess develops
CT Findings:
  • Diffuse enlargement and enhancement of the parotid gland
  • Blurred margins of the gland
  • Internal low attenuation indicative of abscess formation
Capps EF, Kinsella JJ, Gupta M, et al. Emergency imaging assessment of acute, nontraumatic conditions of the head and neck. Radiographics 2010; 30:1335-1352.

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