Salivary Gland Lumps

There are a number of large (major) salivary glands within your neck. These include the submandibular glands, which sit under your jaw bone and the parotid glands which sit on the side of the face.

Salivary Gland Lumps | Submandibular Gland

These may become enlarged due to inflammation, infection or tumours which may be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Occasionally stones can develop within the gland or duct and cause problems.

If the lump fails to resolve and a diagnosis of malignancy has been excluded, there may be an option to observe this, or potentially consider surgical removal.

The submandibular gland sits next to important nerves within the upper neck, which supply the movement of your lower face, tongue as well as sensation to the tongue. It is important your surgeon talks to you about the risks involved and what they can do to minimise this.

Salivary Gland Lumps | Parotid Gland

This large salivary gland sits on the side of the face and indeed this can be affected by benign lumps. The commonest lump is the Pleomorphic adenoma. This occurs in approximately 80% of individuals.

Whilst benign there is a small risk that this can turn into a cancer over time. The risk is small and in the region of 1.5% at 5 years and approximately 5% at 15 years. Your specialist will investigate this further with a scan and needle biopsy.

Surgery on the parotid gland carries a risk to the nerve supplying the movement of the face. This is highly specialised surgery. It is important your surgeon is able to carefully identify the nerve.

There are a number of ways which  we can identify the facial nerve during surgery and carefully dissect it away from the tumour. This may include the use of facial nerve monitors, finding the nerve as it travels within the bottom of the skull or other anatomical techniques.

The author has undertaken several hundred parotid operations. His risk of facial nerve injury are in the region of 2-3% as a temporary risk. That is a temporary weakness of the lower branches of the face which recover completely back to normal over weeks to months.

His overall risk of permanent weakness is 0%. Surgery is performed under general anaesthesia and usually includes a 1-2 night stay in hospital. We typically keep a drain overnight and remove it the following day.

In any case, where you need to get expert care from a qualified ENT specialist consultant in Oxford, you can book your consultation today. Firstly, please get in touch with our team by filling out the form herePriy holds clinics at both Nuffield Health Oxford and GenesisCare.