Salivary Gland Disorders
The salivary glands include the parotid glands (the largest glands, situated on either side of the head, just below the ear); submandibular glands (situated just beneath the jaw); and minor salivary glands (mostly situated inside the mouth). The most common salivary gland disorders include salivary gland calculi (stone blocking the salivary glands) and tumours. Most tumours are benign, however, all are recommended for surgical excision, on account of the difficulty distinguishing between benign and malignant (cancerous) tumours pre-operatively, and the possibility of malignant transformation in benign tumours if left untreated. All patients with a swelling of a salivary gland should be referred urgently to the SIVUH department of Otolaryngology and all will be seen within 1-2 weeks. The usual work-up for such patients is an FNA (see above) and either a CT or MRI scan (or both).