Procedure

Submandibular Gland Surgery- Ear Nose And Throat (ENT)

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Submandibular gland surgery is a surgical procedure to remove a salivary gland beneath the lower jaw. The gland may be removed due to an infection, a tumor, or a blocked salivary duct. A salivary duct is a tube that conveys saliva from the salivary gland into the mouth.

Why is submandibular gland surgery required?

The submandibular salivary gland (SMG) may be removed for long-term sialadenitis, sialectasis, sialolithiasis, benign and malignant tumors, and as a part of a neck dissection. A sialendoscopy may diminish the recurrence of SMG removal for sialolithiasis.

Which Doctor to Consult?

It is best to consult an Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon or an ENT surgeon. They will usually take a detailed medical history and then proceed to conduct a thorough assessment. Surgery of the submandibular gland may then be performed.

What to expect during submandibular gland surgery?

This procedure is performed using general anesthesia, which implies that you will be sleeping all throughout the procedure. An incision will be made in the neck underneath the jaw where the submandibular gland lies. The procedure will take around an hour. Towards the end of the procedure, the doctor will put a plastic tube or a drain through the skin to keep any blood from accumulating under the skin. Most patients will be confined 24-48 hours in a hospital before the drain can be removed and they can return home.

Post-operative care

The area underneath your jaw might be sore for a few days after your procedure. The area likewise may be marginally swollen or tender. It can take 1 to 2 weeks before the incision will completely heal.

If there are stitches in your incision, your doctor may need to remove them, or they may dissolve on their own. You can ask your doctor about this. If the cut was shut with glue, the glue will strip off on its own for a few weeks after the procedure.

Complications

Blood clot

Though rare, a blood clot may gather underneath the skin, and this is known as a hematoma. This happens in only up to 5% of patients. The doctor may do another procedure to remove the clot and place another drain.

Wound infection

This is rare in the neck, yet can occur if the submandibular gland was seriously infected. An infection may require treatment with antibiotics. Discharge gathered under the skin may be drained.

Facial weakness

This is rare after the procedure. If it happens, this weakness is temporary and may last for 6 - 12 weeks. In rare cases, there may be weakness of the lower lip after this procedure.

Numbness of the face and ear

The skin around the wound may become numb for a few weeks after the procedure. It normally improves over weeks or months.

Numbness of tongue

Your tongue may feel numb right after the procedure. This numbness is temporary.

References

  • Submandibular Gland Surgery. Entuk.org. https://www.entuk.org/sites/default/files/files/2012-2015%20About%20Submandibular%20Gland%20Surgery%206pp%20DL%20(09017).pdf. Published 2019. Accessed January 13, 2019.
  • Submandibular Gland Removal: What to Expect at Home. Myhealth.alberta.ca. https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/aftercareinformation/pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=ud2612. Published 2019. Accessed January 13, 2019.
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