We report 94 patients with recurrent pleomorphic adenomas of the parotid gland who were referred to our clinics after operations elsewhere. In 78 patients (83%) enucleation was the surgical technique used to remove the tumour. Patients with more than one recurrence were significantly younger than patients who had only one. Many recurrent adenomas (44%) were multifocal. In 20 (21%) further recurrences became obvious after we had operated on them. The mean time interval before recurrence ranged from 7.3 to 10.1 years. Twenty patients (14%) had persistent motor disorders of the facial nerve after operation for recurrence (n = 143). Twenty eight of the 84 patients from whom follow-up data could be obtained developed Frey's syndrome (33%). Our data support the importance of an adequate initial operation to avoid recurrences of pleomorphic adenomas in the parotid gland.