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Blockage of Salivary Glands

The problem

Blockage of one of the salivary glands is quite common. There are 2 main glands where this can occur:

Submandibular gland (these are situated under the angle of the jaw one on each side)

Parotid gland (these are situated in front of the ear one on each side)

Blockage is usually due to stones or strictures (narrowing of duct) within the gland. Symptoms are usually of pain and swelling in relation to one or other glands.


Your specialist will take a thorough history and examination. Often the history alone is diagnostic. Tests that may be required include Ultrasound and Sialogram.

Ultrasound is a simple, quick and non-invasive test

Sialogram involves injecting a dye into the duct of the gland and viewing the flow of dye through the gland

Both tests are helpful for both stones and strictures.


There are now minimally invasive methods of treating stones and strictures. Previously these problems were treated by removal of the gland itself, which can be associated with complications such as facial scarring and nerve damage.

New treatments involve introducing small baskets into the ducts to remove stones and tiny balloons (which can be re-inflated inside the duct) to dilate up strictures. These procedures can often be carried out under local anaesthetic.

Your specialist will discuss all the options with you.

Salivary Gland Problems