Salivary Gland Surgery
The salivary glands (submandibular glands) are found on either side of your neck, just below the lower jaw. They produce saliva from a tube positioned on the inside of your mouth, behind the lower front teeth. Sometimes, a salivary gland needs to be removed because of an infection, usually resulting from stones blocking the tubes.
The Procedure: The submandibular gland is removed under a general anaesthetic. The procedure usually takes about an hour and involves making an incision in the upper part of your neck, just below the jaw line. Once the gland is removed, the wound is closed with stitches and a small tube inserted to drain away any excess blood and fluids. The drain is usually removed the morning after the surgery.
Post Procedure: Following surgery, you will wake up in the recovery area and be looked after by one of Baddow Hospital’s Recovery Nurses. They will monitor your pulse, blood pressure, temperature and general wellbeing, minimising any pain or sickness. You will then be taken to our main ward or one of our overnight rooms, where you can eat and drink once you’re feeling up to it. You should be discharged either that night or the morning after your surgery.
After hospital discharge: Your consultant and nurses will discuss your post discharge guidelines with you. You’ll need to take time off work to recover – a week is usually sufficient. It is important to keep the wound dry for the first week after your surgery so be careful when it comes to washing and shaving. If you’ve been given any medication or ointments to take or apply, follow the instructions closely, applying ointments etc with clean hands. During this time, don’t engage in any strenuous or physical activity. The stitches should be removed one week after the surgery.
Risks and Side-effects
Bleeding: Bleeding from the wound is unlikely but there may be oozing and staining on your pillow for the first few days after the surgery.
Pain & Swelling: The wound shouldn’t be very painful but if it is, you should take pain relief as prescribed by your surgeon or anaesthetist.
Infection: Again, infection is uncommon but if it does occur, it normally develops two to five days after the procedure. You will receive some antibiotics during surgery but your surgeon may also prescribe a short course of antibiotics to take home with you.
Scarring: All cuts made through the skin cause scarring but most fade with time, although this can take a few months.
Nerve Damage: Sometimes, slight nerve damage can happen as a result of bruising to the nerves. This is usually temporary but full recovery can take a few weeks or even months. The nerve damage can sometimes cause lower lip weakness, resulting in a crooked smile, a tingly feeling to the tongue and decreased tongue movement.