The Salivary Glands produce saliva which moistens food to facilitate chewing and swallowing. Saliva contains enzymes which initiate the digestion process by breaking down food before it reaches the stomach. In addition, saliva cleanses the mouth by washing away bacteria and food particles, and thus, helps prevent tooth decay.
There are several Salivary Gland disorders. Some Salivary Gland disorders may impede the Salivary Glands from functioning properly while other Salivary Gland disorders may affect one’s overall health. Most of the Salivary Gland disorders are cause by Salivary Gland Stones, infection, cysts and tumors.
Salivary Gland Tumors are growths in the Salivary Glands. There are many different types of tumors which can develop in these glands, some non-cancerous (benign) and others cancerous. All Salivary Glands can develop tumors; however some are more prone than others. For example the majority of tumors are seen in the Parotid Gland. In addition, some glands tend to develop benign tumors while others are more likely to develop a cancerous tumor. For example, 80% of Parotid Gland Tumors are benign, while 50% of Submandibular Tumors and only 35% of Sublingual Gland Tumors are benign.
Submandibular Gland Surgery involves removal of the entire Submandibular Gland. This surgery is commonly performed to treat Submandibular Gland tumors and stones. In addition, a chronic infection of the Submandibular Glands that fails to respond to medications is often treated with surgical removal. A small incision is made below the jaw line in the neck. The gland is then removed through this small incision, while preserving surrounding tissues, nerves and vessels.
The surgery to remove the Parotid Gland is called a Parotidectomy. This surgery involves removing either part or all of the Parotid Gland. This surgery is commonly performed to treat Parotid Gland Tumors and stones. In addition, a chronic infection of the Parotid Gland that fails to respond to medications is often treated with surgical removal. A skin incision is made, which runs from the front of the ear, curving towards the back of the ear, to the level of the hair line. This incision is very similar to that used in face-lift surgery and has excellent cosmetic results. An important part of the surgery is identification and preservation of the facial nerve which runs through the Parotid Gland and controls movement of the face.