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Removal of Salivary Gland

Salivary gland is about the size of a walnut that lies below the lower jaw. It provides saliva inside the mouth through openings in the floor of the mouth.

Common reasons for removal of salivary gland are due to infections and blockage of drainage by salivary stones.

Salivary glands are removed under a general anaesthetic (i.e. the patient is put to sleep completely). The operation involves a cut around two inches long (5cm) in the upper part of the neck just below the jaw line. Once the gland has been removed the incision is held together again with stitches. These usually need to be removed around a week after surgery. At the end of the operation a small tube is also placed through the skin into the underlying wound to drain any blood, which may collect. This is usually removed on the morning following surgery.

If the gland is being removed because of infection that is caused by a stone it may also be necessary to make a cut inside the mouth to remove that stone.

The patient usually requires a night in hospital following the surgery. It is unlikely to be very sore but regular pain relief will be arranged. There is relatively little swelling following submandibular gland removal.

It is usually advisable to take a week off from work to recover from the surgery. During this time the patient should avoid strenuous activity.

It is important to keep the wound dry for the first week following surgery. This obviously means patients need to take care when washing or shaving.

Bleeding from the wound is unlikely to be a problem. If it occurs it usually does so in the immediate period after surgery, which is why patients need to stay in hospital overnight.

Infection is uncommon but if your surgeon thinks it may happen a short course of antibiotics will be prescribed.

The removal of one sublingual gland will not have an impact on the amount of saliva that is produced. There are many other saliva glands left in and around the mouth that will still keep it moist.

A review appointment will be arranged before the patient leaves hospital to see the surgeon again.