Salivary Gland and Parotid Problems
What are salivary glands?
People have six major salivary glands and hundreds of minor salivary glands. These glands produce saliva which is crucial for digestion of food and taste.
Salivary gland issues
People with salivary gland issues commonly have a painful neck lump.
Several conditions affecting these glands may prompt intervention by a salivary gland surgeon. Salivary gland infections can be caused by dehydration (not drinking enough fluids) or by blockage of the duct by a stone. The treatment may involve hydration, antibiotics and other measures.
Tumors can affect any of the salivary glands and these may be cancerous or non-cancerous. As each of the major glands is surrounded by vital nerves, such as the facial nerve, the removal of tumors should only be performed by an experienced salivary gland surgeon.
Different types of procedures and surgery
Any one of the salivary glands can become blocked by a stone. Blocked salivary gland surgery refers to the opening of the drainage of the gland, a procedure which can take place in a doctor's office.
Salivary gland surgery includes removal of the salivary gland involved by the tumor (submandibular salivary gland surgery) and the lymph nodes, if malignant.
Parotid surgery invovles a very similar process and requires an experienced parotid surgeon (also known as a parotid physician).
Dr. Shemen, a salivary gland surgeon, has performed several thousand salivary gland procedures.