Q and A

Question

Is radiation or surgery is better enlarged parotid glands (parotitis)?

I have been healthy and HIV positive for 27 years. Over the last several years, I have developed parotitis. My parotid gland/cheek is swollen and red. No other symptoms, just the swelling. It is starting to feel disfiguring. I’ve talked to my primary care doc and he suggested low dose radiation treatment. My ENT is saying surgery. I’m not sure which course of action to follow. Do you have any links to studies that have been done on this? I can’t find any to help me make a decision. Thanks!

Answer

Hi

Thanks for your question.

Before talking about options for treatment I’d be interested in what might be the cause for the enlarged parotid glands?

When looking for research articles, most cases (irrespective of HIV) refer to very different causes, for example, bacterial infections or to cancers or to HIV/treatment. This is a subject that I know little about, but the cause is nearly always important in deciding the course of treatment.

Although I couldn’t find medical journal articles about HIV and parotitis, I do remember discussions on a community discussion forum called pozhealth@yahoogroups.com. This was in the context of lipodystrophy, but also was several years ago.

One option would be to join this forum and then search for those discussions. This might also be a good place to post your question about treatment as Nelson Vergel (who wrote one of the articles I link to below), personally has this experience. You could also try contacting the doctor referred to in the article. Although this was written more than ten years ago, I think they are still in practice).

Perhaps asking both your doctors why they have a preference for one treatment over the other. Sometimes doctors just have more experience than one than another, or they might say either is likely to be good.

Links (please note the date for each as some are quite old).

http://www.thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/Nutrition/Q244096.html

http://survivinghiv.blogspot.co.uk/2006/04/chipmunk-look-that-noone-talks-about.html

https://health.usnews.com/doctors/patricia-gordon-585907

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4368956

http://www.japi.org/july_2009/article_06.pdf  (PDF)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20097488 

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