Lumps/swellings in the salivary glands

Your salivary glands produce the saliva in your mouth that is important for keeping it moist, helping to digest food and keeping the balance of good bacteria in your mouth.

There are 4 main salivary glands, two parotid glands and two submandibular glands. In addition there are smaller sublingual glands and some minor salivary glands.

The parotid glands sit just in front of your ears, while the submandibular glands are just under the jaw bone (mandible).

The sublingual glands sit under your tongue and the minor salivary glands are scattered in your mouth.

Problems with the salivary glands and include them not producing enough saliva, getting blocked due to stones in the duct, becoming inflamed and on occasions having tumours arising within them.

If you have a swelling in this area it needs to be carefully evaluated. 

Professor Winter has written book chapters on salivary gland pathology and will be able to assess the swelling and if necessary recommend any appropriate investigations. Depending on the problem Professor Winter may be able to offer sialendoscopy to look into the ducts of the major glands and remove stones if needed. 

Surgery on the glands needs to be carefully planned as there are several important nerves relating to the glands themselves. The facial nerve runs through the parotid gland and if surgery (parotidectomy) is considered on this gland this needs to be carefully managed. The marginal mandibular nerve which gives you a balanced smile runs very close to the submandibular gland as does the nerve that gives you taste and moves the tongue. Professor Winter regularly performs these operations and would be happy to discuss this with you if it is necessary.   

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