Some submandibular gland issues can be managed non-invasively. But surgical intervention may be required for some patients.
When problems with one of the salivary glands isn’t corrected with less-invasive measures, surgery may be necessary. In a submandibular gland resection, the surgeon will remove the affected gland completely.
- The submandibular glands are located on either side of the neck, just beneath the jaw line.
- This surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis, meaning that the patient can usually go home the same day that the procedure is completed.
How it Works
For a submandibular gland resection, the surgeon will make an incision just beneath the jaw line. The skin is opened to expose the structures beneath the jaw. Using a precision blade, the surgeon will carefully remove the gland and as much affected tissue as is deemed necessary to resolve the issue. The gland is then removed in one piece along with any other tissue that has been cut free, and the incision is closed. Only a portion of the gland may require removal, but this depends on the condition being treated through the use of this surgical procedure.
Some patients are concerned that the removal of a submandibular gland can have a dramatic impact on the body’s ability to produce saliva. Saliva is necessary to help in the digestion of food and to protect the teeth. However, there are six major salivary glands and hundreds of minor glands, so the removal of one gland should not prevent the body from producing this necessary fluid.
Who is a Candidate?
The submandibular glands are susceptible to a wide range of conditions. While many of these conditions, such as infections or stones, can often be treated with less-invasive means than through the use of surgery, there are times when surgical intervention is required.
Infections can typically be cured through the use of appropriate medication or removal of stones, if these are the reason for the infection. Small blockages may also be handled through less-invasive methods. Candidates for submandibular gland resection include those with conditions such as:
- Benign tumors
- Malignant tumors
- Large stones
What to Expect
The surgeon will provide pre-surgical instructions for what the patient is to do prior to having the procedure completed. After checking in at the facility at the appropriate time, the patient will prepare for the procedure. A nurse will likely take the appropriate vital signs to place in the patient’s record. An IV will be started. A brief consultation may occur with the anesthesiologist, if it has not been done prior to the day of the surgery, and with the surgeon. The surgeon may mark the area where the incision is to be made.
Once the patient is taken to the operating room, general anesthesia will be used. Following the procedure, the patient will go to the recovery room to await discharge. A family member or friend will need to be there to provide transportation home for the patient. Medications may be provided for infection or pain, and the patient will be able to return to normal functions when the surgeon deems it appropriate.