Book an appointment
0203 096 9787

Lumps in Salivary Glands

The problem

Lumps or swellings within the salivary glands are quite common. There are 3 main glands where this can occur:

  • Submandibular glands (these are situated under the angle of the jaw one on each side)
  • Parotid glands (these are situated in front of the ear one on each side)
  • Sublingual glands (these are situated under the tongue one on each side)

Lumps are usually due to benign (non-cancerous) tumours within the gland. Other causes include lymph glands and cysts. Some lumps are cancerous and therefore any lump should be fully investigated by a specialist. Symptoms are usually of a painless and slow growing 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 (often with a guided biopsy), Sialogram and MRI scan

Ultrasound is a simple, quick and non-invasive test. It can be used to direct a small needle into the gland to obtain a sample of tissue as a biopsy.

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

MRI is a detailed scan of the area similar to a CT scan


Most lumps require removal in order to be certain of the diagnosis and to prevent the lump from increasing in size and causing problems. These procedures are usually carried out under general anaesthetic.

Your specialist will discuss all the options with you in detail.

Salivary Gland Problems