Salivary Gland Surgery

(Parotidectomy; Submandibular Sialoadenectomy; Sublingual Gland Surgery)

Definition

Salivary glands secrete saliva into your mouth through ducts. The salivary glands are found around the mouth and throat. The main glands are:
  • Parotid
  • Submandibular—submaxillary
  • Sublingual glands
  • Smaller glands located throughout the mouth area
Salivary Glands
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This surgery is done to remove a salivary gland. There are different types of surgeries, depending on which gland needs to be operated on:
  • Parotidectomy —to remove the parotid gland
  • Submandibular sialoadenectomy—to remove the submandibular gland
  • Sublingual gland surgery—to remove the sublingual gland

Reasons for Procedure

Salivary glands can become infected and blocked. They can also have a tumor, stone, or other disorder. Surgery is done to treat the problem by removing part or all of the affected gland. It may also be done to remove tissue for testing, like removing a tumor to test for cancer.

Possible Complications

Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
  • Numbness of the face and ear
  • Damage to the nerve that controls movement of muscles in your face
  • Saliva drainage—Saliva may leak through the incision after it has been closed.
  • Frey’s syndrome—This happens when salivary nerve fibers grow into the sweat glands. While eating, some people may notice sweating on the side of the face where the surgery was done.
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Swelling of the airway
  • Scarring
  • Fistula formation—This is an abnormal connection that may occur between the mouth, nose, throat, or skin.
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:

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