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Salivary Gland Disorders

As the name implies, the salivary glands produce saliva, which helps moisten the mouth, assist digestion, and maintain dental health.  We have three “major salivary glands” on each side of the neck in addition to hundreds of tiny “minor salivary glands” imbedded within the lining of the head and neck.  

The following conditions can develop in the salivary glands:

  • Viral or bacterial infections
  • Chronic inflammation (sialadenitis)
  • Formation of salivary stones
  • Benign tumors or cysts
  • Salivary cancers

Salivary gland disorders are rather rare, and thus often poorly understood.  Every salivary disorder is unique in its symptoms, but in general there will be some type of swelling noticed either along the cheeks or under the jaw.  Infectious and inflammatory conditions of the salivary glands can often be painful and spread.  Patients who develop a tumor of the salivary glands will notice a mass that slowly grows over time. 

At USF Health, we have established a dedicated center devoted to the study and treatment of salivary gland disorders.  Given the rarity of these conditions, we have the specialized skills to treat the full breadth of salivary disorders with cutting edge technologies such as salivary gland endoscopy.  Our services range from the diagnosis of inflammatory conditions to complex surgical removal of salivary gland cancers.  We treat patients with a range of both benign and malignant salivary conditions.  

Salivary diagnostics:

  • Fine needle aspiration of salivary masses
  • Biopsy of mouth and palatal tumors
  • Minor salivary gland biopsy for inflammatory (e.g. Sjogren’s syndrome/disorders)
  • Point of care ultrasonography

Minimally invasive salivary therapy:

  • Diagnostic Salivary endoscopy
  • Symptomatic management of inflammatory disorders
  • Treatment of salivary infections
  • Botulinum toxin injection

Salivary stone removal:

  • Endoscopic salivary stone removal
  • Transoral removal of salivary stones
  • Parotid gland sparing endoscopic assisted stone removal

Benign parotid and submandibular tumors:

  • Submandibular gland resection
  • Parotidectomy
  • Treatment of recurrent salivary tumors