The parotid is the largest of the three pairs of salivary glands. Its superficial surface is triangular, with its superior side parallel to and beneath the zygomatic arch, the anterior side overlying the masseter muscle and the posterior side parallel to the anterior border of the sternocleidomastoid. The facial nerve traverses the substance of the gland and is the nominal boundary between deep and superficial lobes.
The superficial lobe is connected to the deep lobe behind the ramus of the mandible. The continuation of the external carotid artery is embedded in the substance of the deep surface of the gland, lying in a plane deep to the facial nerve.