Glands are organs that secrete hormones or chemical substances which the body uses. The human body has two major types of glands. They are the exocrine glands and the endocrine glands. The exocrine glands are glands that secrete these hormones and chemical substances to the body’s surface through a duct. Some include the parotid (salivary), sweat, lacrimal, and prostate glands. The parotid gland secretes saliva. There is one located on each cheek. They are between the ear and the jaw. This gland can be infected, causing a condition called parotitis.
What is Parotitis?
Parotitis is an infection that affects the parotid gland, whereby the gland becomes painful and swells. It is characterized by swelling and redness in the cheeks between the ear and the jaw. This swelling is usually tender.
Parotitis is usually a sign of another illness. However, the illnesses are differentiated by their causative agents. For example, a virus is the most common cause of parotitis and mumps. Mumps is most common in children between the ages of 2 and 12 who haven’t been vaccinated. Other viral illnesses that can have swollen salivary glands are herpes or Epstein-Barr.
In addition, aside from viruses, parotitis can signify bacterial infections, stones or tumors in the salivary glands, and sometimes even tooth problems.
Risks Associated With Parotitis
As mentioned above, parotitis can be caused by bacteria. The specific bacteria is staphylococcus aureus. Mixed oral aerobes or anaerobes accompany this bacteria. This form of parotitis is majorly gotten by older people who might have undergone an operation. Poor oral hygiene, debilitation, and dehydration are also high in this case.
However, the virus spreads when one comes in contact with moisture from the nose and mouth of an infected person. This could be through sneezing or direct contact with objects with infected saliva. The specific virus in question which causes mumps is the paramyxovirus, a member of the Rubulavirus family. Mumps can stay incubated in the body for about 16 to 18 days. It can be excruciating.
The symptoms of parotitis, no matter the disease, are uncomfortable and painful. They include pain in the face, sore throat, fever, swelling in the face around the temple and the jaw, swelling of the parotid gland itself, and loss of appetite. Furthermore, if it is not adequately handled by the medical practitioner, the patient will live with devastating results for the rest of their life.
For many cases of parotitis, the medical personnel does not need to do much work, and it’ll pass on its own.
However, they treat them based on the symptoms. Medical personnel use local heat to gently massage the anterior and posterior of the gland and ensure the patients drink lots of water. They also express pus from the Stensen ducts to conduct experiments on the bacteria within it. These are just symptomatic relief processes.
Complicated Cases of Parotitis
Note that there are more complicated cases of parotitis. Surgery is needed for more severe cases, like a tumor growing on the parotid gland. This surgery is delicate as the nerve for feeling in the face is around the same place as the gland. This nerve position has led to complications like paralysis in the face after a parotidectomy (parotid gland surgery).
Another complication comes from the mumps virus. It can cause mumps orchitis, affecting men’s testis size.
According to the CDC, “orchitis occurs in approximately 30% of unvaccinated and 6% of vaccinated post-pubertal male mumps patients. Only one testis is affected in 60% to 83% of males with mumps orchitis. Mumps orchitis is not linked to infertility but may result in testicular atrophy and hypofertility.”
Furthermore, on the complications, this case highlights that a claimant was appealing to a board of veterans for disability compensation from disabled American veterans based on parotitis.
This case of LeMons v. Regents of University of California shows the medical practitioner’s negligence in dealing with the surgery. This negligence led to the claimant losing feeling in their face and having to go through facial paralysis rehabilitation.
Legal Animation’s Place in Parotitis Cases
Parotitis is a mild infection and should be treated as such. Although not severe, it can indicate an underlying illness like cancer. The attorney in charge of this case can use legal animation to ensure that the claimant gets their due compensation.
The first aspect is illustrating the salivary gland anatomy using trial animation to the jury. The attorney will employ an expert witness here to describe how the salivary gland should look and how the swelling from parotitis affects it. This way, they’ll be able to try to convey the amount of pain the claimant would be feeling.
For some cases where the parotitis is caused by a tumor and needs surgery, the issue might be the same as the one highlighted above, and the claimant would lose feeling in their face. In this case, legal animation is vital because using it can illustrate the connection of the nerve to the rest of the face. With the help of the salivary gland animation mentioned above, the jury can understand how the medical practitioner could not have missed the nerve to cause such a mistake.
Finally, for the “luckier” claimants, the medical personnel reconnected the nerve but still had to undergo facial paralysis rehabilitation. The attorney can use legal animation to show how arduous this process is and how they might not return to their original form. This visual aid will help the claimant showcase their plight to the jury.
With a legal animation company like Fox-AE on your team, all these conditions and circumstances surrounding a case of parotitis can be illustrated. Our team of in-house medical animators will work with your expert witness to create admissible demonstrative evidence needed to enhance winning your case.