Removal of lumps of the salivary glands

What is removal of lumps of the salivary glands?

Following investigation of a salivary gland lump by your GP and the decision to have it removed, this operation is usually carried out under general anaesthetic.  The salivary gland or part of the salivary gland containing the lump is removed and sent to the laboratory to be looked at underneath a microscope.  The skin overlying the salivary gland is then closed with stitches.  You will usually need to spend the night of the operation in hospital.

How does removal of lumps of the salivary glands work?

It works by removing the lump.  This lump is then sent to be looked at underneath a microscope for a diagnosis to be made.  It can then be decided whether any further treatment is necessary.

What are the benefits?

The lump is removed and a diagnosis is made.  If lumps are left behind, we do not know if they could be cancerous and they will often get bigger and some lumps can become infected.

How safe is the treatment?

The removal of a salivary gland lump has some risks depending on the type of lump that is removed and its proximity to certain nerves.  In the parotid gland, which is on the side of the face, the nerve which supplies the movement of the face runs close to most lumps in this gland and care needs to be taken not to cause temporary or permanent paralysis of some or part of the face.  If the salivary gland under the jaw is removed, it is possible for the nerve which supplies the feeling to the tongue, and the nerve which supplies the movement of the lower lip, to be bruised.  Both are uncommon.

Paying for your operation

Costs may be covered by most medical insurance policies, but please check with your insurer first. If you are paying for your own treatment the cost of the operation will be explained and confirmed in writing when you book the operation. Ask the hospital for a quote beforehand, and ensure that this includes the surgeon’s fee, the anaesthetist’s fee and the hospital charge for your procedure.

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