A Warthin's tumor is extracted by removing either all or some of the patient's parotid gland, according to an article posted by the National Institutes of Health. Unfortunately, nearly half the patients suffered from damaged facial nerves. However, for most of them, the problems with the facial nerves were temporary.
Surgeons have sometimes felt compelled to sacrifice the facial nerve because the tumor was wrapped around it, notes the NIH article. Some patients having the procedure suffered from a complication called Frey's syndrome. The symptoms of Frey's syndrome are flushing and sweating on the temple, cheek or behind the patient's ear after he's eaten foods that make him salivate a great deal, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders. In most cases, the symptoms are mild, but they can develop even years after the operation.
Warthin's tumors are benign, and rarely turn malignant, according to the NIH article. When they are removed, they very rarely recur. Though they are found mostly in the parotid gland, they are sometimes found in the lymph nodes in the neck and in the submandibular gland, says the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. Patients who develop Warthin's tumors are more likely to smoke. Medical experts believe that the toxins found in smoking contribute to the development of the tumor.