The salivary glands constitute a system or network of glands (parotid, submaxillary, sublingual and minor salivary glands) and their function is to secrete saliva to maintain the adequate humidity, lubrication and pH conditions in our mouth.
They are also responsible for providing proteins and liquids in order to salivate food properly.
What affects the salivary glands?
The salivary glands can basically be affected by inflammations or tumours. It should be noted that, while most tumours are benign, they must nevertheless be removed. Gland inflammations can be secondary to infections, obstructive causes (lithiasis or salivary stones), trauma, etc., all of which are curable.
A large number of the population has dry mouth (xerostomia). This symptom may be due simply to glandular atrophy, but occasionally it may be indicative or secondary to other pathologies and must therefore be studied. The study of these and other glandular pathologies must be carried out by a specialist.
Salivary gland tumours are located mainly in the parotid glands. Said glands are located at pre-auricular level and behind the jaw angle. The parotid gland is divided into superficial and deep lobes by the facial nerve plane (nerve responsible for facial mobility).
What are the symptoms?
Parotid gland tumours are frequently benign. Despite their benign nature, they tend to grow causing facial deformation, discomfort and pain and, at times, affect the facial nerve. Malign parotid tumours, although less frequent, are the first that must be ruled out by the maxillofacial surgeon.
In parotid gland surgery, the key element is to not damage and preserve the facial nerve, responsible for innervating the face muscles. This nerve passes through the parotid gland, due to which, in the case of surgery, it must be performed by an expert team with experience in this type of interventions. The same applies in sub-maxillary and sub-lingual glands, due to their close relationship with the nerve and lingual vessels.
A specialist team also ensures the treatment of salivary tumours, infections and lithiasis with minimally invasive surgery.