Parotid gland tumor recurrences can prove problematic both in terms of facial nerve trauma during surgery and for the possible transformation into malignancy. Between 1981 and 2001 a total of 40 patients (23 women, 17 men; average age 48; age range 20-79 years) underwent surgery for recurrent parotid gland tumors. The average time between the first and the second surgical procedures was approximately 10 years. Five subjects underwent surgery several times for the same pathology. The Authors feel that MRI imaging is an essential tool for the evaluation of infiltrations into the soft tissues. The following surgical procedures were performed: enucleation in 2 cases; exofacial partial parotidectomy (PP) in 1; lower polar PP with functional neck dissection in 1; total parotidectomy (TP) with preservation of the facial nerve in 31 cases; TP with functional neck dissection in 2; TP with sectioning of the facial nerve in 2 and TP with transmandibular buccopharyngectomy and myocutaneous gran dorsal muscle flap in 1 case. Histology proved positive for the following: pleomorphous adenoma in 21 cases, adenocarcinoma in 11, aggressive fibromatosis in 2, cystadenolymphoma in 1, parotiditis in 1, lipoma in 1, cystic lymphoid hyperplasia in 1, histiofibrosarcoma in 1 and neurofibrosarcoma in 1. The surgical technique used was retrograde dissection of the facial nerve starting from one of the peripheral branches. Post-operatively, whenever a facial paralysis was encountered it proved difficult to recover. Paralysis of the nerve was permanent only in the 2 subjects where sectioning proved necessary because of infiltration by carcinoma. In 6 subjects recovery of the paralysis took one year, in 4 it took 6 months and in 2 other cases 3 months. In 22 cases there was only a slight paralysis of some branches which recovered during the post-operative period. We do not have definitive data on 4 subjects either because the period of time since surgery is still too short or because they did not come in for subsequent check-ups. The results of our study show that total parotidectomy should be the treatment of choice in case of benign parotid gland tumors and in particular for pleomorphic adenoma.