Salivary Gland Tumors

Salivary Gland Tumors


The major salivary glands are the parotid glands, submandibular glands and sublingual glands. There are also around 1,000 minor salivary glands widely distributed throughout the oral mucosa, palate, floor of the mouth, posterior tongue, retromolar and peritonsillar area. Tumours affecting salivary glands may be benign or malignant and are diverse in their pathology.

About 80% of salivary gland tumours occur in the parotid gland and about 80% of salivary gland tumours are benign.


  1. Malignant Tumors
  2. The malignant tumours common in major salivary glands are

    • Mucoepidermoid carcinoma,
    • Acinic cell carcinoma and
    • Adenoid cystic carcinomas.

    Among the minor salivary glands, adenoid cystic carcinoma is the most common. Malignant tumors may be low grade or high grade

  3. Benign tumours
  4. Pleomorphic adenoma is the most common benign tumour and is seen commonly in parotid gland. Warthin's tumour is the second most common benign salivary gland neoplasm, representing about 6-10% of all parotid tumours.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Most salivary gland neoplasms are a slowly enlarging painless mass. Based on location, they may cause local symptoms if it is malignant, they may cause aggressive symptoms like pain, facial nerve weakness, rapid increase in size or ulceration or sensory loss.

Signs of malignant lump includes hard, fixed and infiltration of nearby structures with or without neck nodal enlargement


Ultra sonogram of local part and FNAC from suspicious nodule. If malignancy is suspected, CT neck or MRI might be necessary

Treatment options and what we offer in our centre?

  • Superficial parotidectomy with careful dissection of the facial nerve (Nerve sparing technique) is required for treatment of a benign parotid swelling
  • Radical parotidectomy for malignant tumors.
  • Neck dissection for malignant tumors of salivary glands.
  • Aggressive histology may require adjuvant radiation

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