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Chronic recurrent parotitis (CRP) is a rare inflammatory disease characterized by multiple episodes of unilateral or bilateral parotid inflammation over a period of years. The objective of this study was to evaluate the parotid glands using MRI during acute inflammation as well as during symptom-free intervals.Twelve children with a history of CRP were included. Four patients were examined during the acute phase and eight children during symptom-free intervals. MR findings were correlated with the clinical status.Two different patterns were identified by MRI: acute inflammation versus chronic inflammation. Contrast enhancement of the parotid gland indicated acute inflammation. Cysts due to chronic inflammation were encountered in children who suffered multiple episodes of inflammation.Our findings suggest that CRP is characterized by recurrent, acute exacerbations of inflammation, resulting in a slowly progressive destruction of the parotid gland.