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Penn ENT’s Salivary Gland Center offers the best treatments available for salivary gland stones, strictures, and other salivary gland disorders. Regardless of the location or complexity of your salivary gland condition, our surgeons have the tools and expertise to preserve salivary glands and ducts, improve or eliminate symptoms, and restore your quality of life.

Minimally invasive procedures are the most common form of treatment used at Penn to address salivary gland disorders. Unlike traditional salivary gland surgery, these procedures treat glands instead of removing them entirely, allowing patients to avoid the side effects of removal.

After salivary gland treatment at Penn, most patients - even those with severe salivary gland disease and cancers - have excellent results.

Symptoms of Salivary Gland Disorders

man holding mouth aching Common symptoms of salivary gland disorders include:

  • Swelling
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Dry mouth
  • Foul taste in the mouth
  • An infection

Swelling is the most common symptom. The way you experience swelling can help to determine what’s causing the problem. Your doctor may ask you specific questions, including:

  • Is the swelling in one specific place or everywhere?
  • Does eating have an effect on the swelling?
  • Is the swelling constant, or does it fluctuate?
  • Is the swelling quickly changing or spreading to other areas?

Treatment of Inflammatory Salivary Gland Disease

Most salivary gland disorders are classified as inflammatory salivary gland disease. The Penn Salivary Gland Center offers the best care available for these disorders, including treatment for:

  1. Salivary gland stones: A calcification that forms inside a salivary gland or duct and obstructs the flow of saliva. This is the most common cause of inflammatory salivary gland disease.
  2. Salivary gland strictures: Also known as stenosis, a stricture is the narrowing of a salivary gland that causes a blockage of saliva.
  3. Sjogren’s-related salivary disease: Immune system conditions, such as Sjögren’s Syndrome, can attack the salivary glands leading to dysfunction and a variety of complications of the salivary glands.
  4. Complications from cancer treatment: Radiation used to treat certain cancers, like thyroid cancer, can damage the salivary glands resulting in a condition called radioiodine sialadenitis.

Treatment of Salivary Gland Cancer

Although pain and swelling are alarming, most salivary gland conditions are related to inflammatory salivary gland disease rather than salivary gland cancer. Penn doctors are experts at distinguishing between these conditions.

In cases where salivary gland problems are caused by a tumor, they are most commonly found in the parotid gland. About 80 percent of salivary gland tumors are benign. However, benign tumors can transform over time, so it’s important to have them promptly diagnosed and treated.

At Penn, we are national leaders in a minimally invasive procedure called sialendoscopy that can identify tumors that might otherwise go unnoticed and continue to progress. If a tumor is detected, it can be removed through surgery.

Treatment of salivary gland cancer is managed in partnership with a team of nationally recognized experts at the Abramson Cancer Center.

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