Surgery of the salivary glands is encompassed in the subspecialty of ENT surgery known as head and neck surgery. I am a Fellowship trained head and neck surgeon with a particular interest in surgery for tumours of the head and neck region, including the salivary glands.
The salivary glands have very important nerves that run either through them or close by to them. This is surgery that should be undertaken by experienced head and neck surgeons. The submandibular and sublingual glands have important nerves near by them, including those that provide sensation to the tongue, move the tongue and move the corner of the mouth.
Click here to understand why surgery on the submandibular gland may be undertaken
All salivary gland surgery is done under general anaesthesia. Operations on the submandibular gland are performed through an incision on the neck. This incision is disguised as best as possible in a skin crease to aid with scarring. Submandibular gland surgery takes approximately one hour as there is meticulous dissection of the gland to preserve the important nerves in the area at all times.
For submandibular gland surgery, a drain in the neck that collects any excess fluid is used. This can usually be removed the following day and thus only a 1 night hospital stay is required. Once this drains dries up it is removed and then you are safe for discharge from hospital.
Like any surgery you need to avoid overly strenuous exercise. Normal daily activities are fine but anything above this should be avoided.
Read more detailed post-operative instructions.
I usually see you 1 week after surgery. At this time the results of the pathology from the operation will be available and we can discuss those. Also any stitches can be removed and I can review the appearance of the surgical site at that time.