Parotid duct

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Parotid duct
Right parotid gland. Deep and anterior aspects. (Parotid duct labeled at center right.)
Dissection, showing salivary glands of right side. (Parotid duct visible at center.)
Latin Ductus parotideus
Gray's p.1134
MeSH A03.556.500.760.640
TA A05.1.02.007
FMA FMA:10420
Anatomical terminology

The parotid duct or Stensen duct is a duct and the route that saliva takes from the major salivary gland, the parotid gland into the mouth.[1]


It is named after Nicolas Steno (1638–1686), a Danish anatomist credited with its detailed description in 1660.


The average dimensions of the parotid duct are 5 cm long and 3 mm wide although it is narrower at its oral orifice. It begins by the confluence of two main tributaries within the anterior part of the parotid gland: the duct appears at the anterior border of the upper part of the gland and passes horizontally across masseter, approximately midway between the angle of the mouth and the zygomatic arch. It passes through the buccal fat, buccopharyngeal fascia, and buccinator muscle then opens into the vestibule of the mouth across from the maxillary second molar tooth on the inner surface of the buccal mucosa at the parotid papilla.[2] The buccinator acts as a valve that prevents inflation of the duct during blowing. Running along with the duct superiorly is the transverse facial artery and upper buccal nerve; running along with the duct inferiorly is the lower buccal nerve.

Clinical relevance[edit]

Blockage, whether caused by salivary duct stones or external compression, may cause pain and swelling of the parotid gland (parotitis).

Additional images[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ten Cate's Oral Histology, Nanci, Elsevier, 2013, page 255
  2. ^ Illustrated Dental Embryology, Histology, and Anatomy, Bath-Balogh and Fehrenbach, Elsevier, 2011, page 135

External links[edit]