The purpose was to assess degree of permanent facial nerve dysfunction after surgery for recurrent pleomorphic adenoma (RPA) of the parotid gland, including variables that might influence re-operation outcomes. Nationwide retrospective longitudinal cohort study including a questionnaire survey of patients undergoing surgery for RPA. Of 219 living patients, 198 (92 %) responded and 127 (63 %) reported no facial dysfunction. Statistically significant associations were found between number of surgeries and permanent facial nerve dysfunction of all degrees (OR 1.43, 95 % CI 1.16–1.78, p = 0.001). A not significant tendency for females to be associated with worse outcome was found (p = 0.073). Risks of different degrees of paresis after the second–fourth surgeries were found (OR 1.86–2.19, p < 0.05). Our study demonstrates a significant correlation between number of surgeries for RPA of the parotid and severity of facial nerve paresis. This is important when informing and planning treatment of these patients.