What Is Salivary Gland Stricture?

Salivary gland strictures are a narrowing of the salivary duct that affects both the duct and gland. Saliva can’t flow easily through the duct and forms a mucus plug behind the stricture, causing inflammatory salivary gland disease.

Alternative Names:

Salivary gland stenosis

Causes of Salivary Gland Strictures

Strictures can be caused by inflammation, pinching, or scarring, which can sometimes be the result of certain chronic conditions, such as Sjögren’s Syndrome, or radioactive iodine-induced sialadenitis.

Symptoms of Salivary Gland Strictures

Symptoms may include:

  • Swelling
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Infection

Exams and Tests for Salivary Gland Strictures

Your doctor will perform a physical exam and may order an ultrasound.

A specialized endoscopic technique called sialendoscopy can be used to find and treat strictures. Sialendoscopy is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that involves the use of a scope with a camera and light. Penn ENT is a national leader in this cutting-edge technique and one of only two institutions in the Philadelphia region offering it.

Treatment of Salivary Gland Strictures

It’s critical to address strictures as soon as possible. Strictures can be managed at home using massage, heat, and lemon water.

If non-surgical treatment doesn’t provide relief, Penn ENT’s Salivary Gland Center may perform sialendoscopy. This cutting-edge minimally invasive procedure allows your doctor to:

  • Flush out mucus plugs behind the stricture
  • Introduce fluids to drain the gland
  • Inject steroids to stop the stricture from returning

If your salivary stricture is caused by certain chronic conditions, such as Sjögren’s Syndrome or radioactive iodine-induced sialadenitis, prompt treatment is crucial to provide relief from symptoms. In some cases, surgery may be used to repair a damaged duct. Your doctor may repair your duct using:

  • Dilation: An endoscopic procedure that uses balloons or wires to stretch the duct
  • Pull-through sialodochoplasty: A reconstructive procedure that makes the opening of the duct into the mouth bigger in order to bypasses a stricture. This procedure involves making a circular incision, pulling the duct forward, removing the uppermost portion, and attaching it to the edges of the incision
  • Reimplantation: A procedure that moves the duct to a different location
  • Grafting: A rare procedure that moves a healthy vein from another location in the body to the damaged duct

Providers at the Penn Salivary Gland Center are experts in all of these procedures, performing among the highest number of annual cases in the nation, even for the most complex patients.

Learn more about the treatment Penn ENT's Salivary Gland Center provides for salivary gland disorders

Outlook (Prognosis) for Salivary Gland Strictures

Many people with salivary gland strictures fully recover. For advanced strictures, treatment can provide relief from symptoms and improve quality of life.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Swelling or pain in your mouth, especially after eating
  • An infection in your mouth

Penn Programs & Services for Salivary Gland Stricture

Salivary Gland Center

Penn Ear, Nose and Throat offers one of the region’s only dedicated salivary gland centers. Our specialists are nationally-recognized experts in diagnosing and treating salivary gland disorders.

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