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Salivary Gland CenterSpecialized Care for Your Salivary Gland Condition advance to content

 

Our multidisciplinary team of salivary gland specialists, radiation oncologists, and head and neck surgeons, all work together to provide you with individualized and compassionate care.

 

 

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Conditions We Treat

When you have a condition affecting one or more of your salivary glands, the Johns Hopkins Salivary Gland Tumor Center connects you with state-of-the-art evaluation, diagnosis and surgical treatment, including minimally invasive approaches such as sialendoscopy. Our practitioners offer expert diagnosis and skilled treatment of:

  • Salivary stones, also called sialolithiasis, are hardened mineral deposits that form in the salivary glands. A stone that blocks the duct of a salivary gland can cause an infection (sialadenitis).

    What to Expect

    Our experts will take a detailed medical history and perform a head and neck examination, which may include the doctor manually examining the salivary glands inside your mouth to feel for stones.

    The best way to detect salivary stones is with a CT scan, which will show the number, size and location of stones — information that is essential to treatment planning.

    Good hydration, gland massage and salivary stimulation are recommended before stone removal.

    If a salivary stone is causing you discomfort, ibuprofen or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help with swelling and pain. Your doctor may also prescribe an antibiotic to address infection.

    Stones should be removed to avoid complications such as infection or abscess. In most cases, the surgeon can take the stone out while preserving the salivary gland, but sometimes the surgeon will need to resect (remove) the affected gland. Sialendoscopy is an endoscopic procedure that the surgeon may use as part of your surgical treatment. 

  • Salivary gland tumors may be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Tumors can grow in the parotid glands on the side of the face, in the submandibular glands under the jaw, or in the sublingual glands under the tongue. 

    Salivary gland cancer is a disease in which cancerous cells are found in one of these three types of salivary glands. Often, the only symptom of a salivary gland tumor is a lump or mass that may be painless.   

    What to Expect

    The first step in addressing a salivary gland tumor is diagnosis. A biopsy can help the doctor understand more about the cells in the tumor and how likely they are to multiply and spread. The biopsies used to learn more about tumors in the salivary glands are fine needle aspiration biopsy and incisional biopsy. Your doctor will choose the biopsy type that is better for you. 

    If the biopsy confirms salivary gland cancer, your doctor is likely to recommend surgery as the first line of treatment. Some salivary gland cancer patients are candidates for transoral robotic surgery. If the salivary gland cancer is considered high grade, based on the shape of the cells and the number of places where the cancerous cells are actively dividing, your doctor may prescribe radiation therapy following surgery. 

  • Salivary glands can become infected by bacteria (especially strains of Staphylococcus, or staph) or viruses. Salivary gland infection, also called sialadenitis, is most likely to affect one of the parotid salivary glands near the ears on the side of the face, or the submandibular salivary glands under the jaw.

    What to Expect

    Your Salivary Gland Center doctor will take a detailed medical history and examine your salivary glands manually. If there is evidence of a salivary stone or blockage, imaging tests such as computed tomography (CT) or ultrasound will help determine if a blockage is present.

    Treatment is essential because salivary infections can get worse. The infection can spread into the deep tissues and bones of the head and neck or cause severe swelling that affects breathing.

    Treatment involves hydration to increase salivary flow and gland massage. Your therapy plan may include steps to address any underlying condition such as a salivary stone or tumor that is blocking the gland.

 

Why Choose the Johns Hopkins Salivary Gland Center

History & Leadership

Our head and neck surgeons are part of the Johns Hopkins Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, which has been delivering expert patient care and research innovation for over a century. 

Advanced Research

The Salivary Gland Center offers the latest in diagnosis and treatment for salivary gland conditions, and continues to be at the forefront of salivary gland disorders research. 

Highly Trained Specialists

Our skilled multidisciplinary team can help you with both common and complex salivary gland disorders.

 

Meet Our Specialists

Head and neck surgeons treat salivary gland conditions. If cancer is detected, our team of radiation oncologists work closely with your head and neck surgeon to provide a comprehensive treatment plan.

Sialendoscopy Specialists 

Sialendoscopy specialists treat conditions such as blocked salivary glands related to stones and infected glands. 

Head & Neck Surgeons

Head and neck surgeons treat cancer and tumors of the salivary glands.

 

Radiation Oncologists

Radiation oncologists work with head and neck surgeons to treat salivary gland cancer using radiation therapy. 

Locations

Locations available in Baltimore and the Washington D.C. Metro area.

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