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Your submandibular glands are the salivary glands located under your jaw bone. They produce saliva (spit) that drains through an opening under your tongue at the front of your mouth.

Sometimes lumps or stones cause a blockage in the drainage tubes. Symptoms of problems with your submandibular glands may include:

  • Swelling
  • Discomfort when opening your mouth
  • Dry mouth
  • Face or mouth pain
  • Bad taste in your mouth

If conservative treatment of your submandibular glands is not successful your consultant may recommend removal.

What happens during submandibular gland removal?

Submandibular gland removal is usually done under general anaesthetic and takes about one hour. Your surgeon will make an incision (cut) in your neck just below your jaw bone. They will access and remove all or part of your submandibular gland. A tiny drain will be placed in the incision to allow excess fluid or blood to drain away. Your wound will be closed with stitches.

Immediately after your operation you will be taken to a recovery area where we will monitor you until you have recovered from the anaesthetic. If you are in any pain we will give you pain relief medication.

You will need to stay in hospital until your drain can be removed. This usually requires an overnight stay.

Going home after submandibular gland removal

You will not be able to drive so please arrange for someone to take you home on the day of discharge.

Take over the counter pain relief medication if needed. Keep your wound clean and dry until your stitches are removed. Avoid any strenuous activity for the first week you are home.

Discuss any return to work with your consultant.           

Most people make a good recovery from submandibular gland removal. As with any surgical procedure there could be complications including:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection

Specific complications of submandibular gland removal may include:

  • Scarring
  • Facial weakness (temporary or permanent)
  • Facial or tongue numbness – usually temporary
  • Nerve damage

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