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Diagnosing and Treating Salivary Gland Stones, Salivary Gland Cancer, and Stenosis

Symptoms and Diagnosis

People with salivary gland stones, cancer, or stenosis may experience swelling in front of their ears or below their jaw bones.

These symptoms can it make hard to perform everyday activities, such as eating.

When you first arrive to the UPMC Salivary Gland Stone and Infection Center, your doctor will perform a clinical evaluation to look at the glands and the openings into the mouth.

The doctor may also look for growths, cancer, or stones during the exam.

To help your doctor form a proper diagnosis, you may also need imaging tests such as:

  • Ultrasound
  • MRI
  • CT scan

Surgical Treatment

If your doctor decides you need surgery, we will work with you to set a time and date.

We perform salivary gland surgeries in the operating room under sedation (twilight) or general anesthesia.

Depending on the surgery, most patients can go home on the same day and return to work the next day.

Salivary endoscopy surgery

The most common and preferred procedure we perform at UPMC’s Salivary Gland Stone and Infection Center is the salivary endoscopy.

During salivary endoscopy, the doctor dilates the small openings in the mouth and salivary glands and then views the stones using a small 1mm endoscope. Using this endoscope allows for a quicker and less invasive way to remove salivary gland stones.

Because this minimally invasive outpatient surgery often uses a combination of local anesthesia and sedation, patients usually recover more quickly. However, like any surgery, there are possible complications that can occur from salivary endoscopy.

Though the risk is low, it's good to be aware of the following possible complications:

  • Failure to retrieve the stone
  • Need for an open (classic) salivary gland procedure
  • Perforation of the duct with infection
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding

Classic open salivary gland surgery

For larger stones or those who aren't able to have minimally invasive salivary endoscopy surgery, doctors can perform classic open surgery.

The doctor will need to make a small incision to create a larger opening for removing the salivary gland stone. The incision can create a scar.

However, in most cases, we can avoid open salivary gland surgery and scarring.

Make an Appointment with a Salivary Gland Expert

Call 412-621-0123 or 412-647-2100 to make an appointment with University Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists at the:

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