There are three paired sets of salivary glands in the head and neck region. These include the ones in front of the ears (parotid), below the jaw (submandibular), and underneath the tongue (sublingual). Additionally, there are numerous very small salivary glands throughout the mouth and throat.
Primary benign and malignant salivary gland tumors usually show up as painless enlargements of these glands. Tumors rarely involve more than one gland and are detected as a growth in the parotid, submandibular area, on the palate, floor of mouth, cheeks, or lips. An otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon should check these enlargements.
Malignant tumors of the major salivary glands can grow quickly, may be painful, and can cause loss of movement of part or all of the affected side of the face. These symptoms should be immediately investigated.
Copyright © 2015 American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. Reproduction or republication strictly prohibited without prior written permission.