What is Salivary gland cancer?

Salivary gland cancer, also known as salivary gland carcinoma, is a rare type of cancer that originates in the salivary glands. These glands are responsible for producing saliva, which aids in digestion and keeps the mouth moist. The most common salivary glands are the Parotid gland,  the submandibular gland and the sublingual gland. Other lesser glands are located in the palate.

Salivary gland cancer surgery is a primary treatment option for localized tumors and aims to remove the cancerous tissue while preserving salivary gland function and nearby structures. In this comprehensive overview, we will discuss salivary gland cancer surgery, its goals, techniques, considerations, and potential outcomes.

Types of Salivary Gland Cancer Surgery:

  1. Superficial Parotidectomy: The most common type of salivary gland cancer surgery involves the removal of the superficial lobe of the parotid gland, the largest salivary gland located in front of the ear. This procedure is commonly performed for tumors arising in the parotid gland, as it allows for complete tumor removal while preserving facial nerve function.
  2. Total Parotidectomy: In more advanced cases or when the tumor involves the deep lobe of the parotid gland, a total parotidectomy may be necessary. This surgery involves the complete removal of the parotid gland, including both the superficial and deep lobes.
  3. Submandibular Gland Surgery: Tumors arising in the submandibular gland, located beneath the lower jawbone, may require a submandibular gland resection to remove the affected gland.
  4. Maxillectomy: In cases of tumors involving the minor salivary glands located in the upper jaw (maxilla) or other structures, a maxillectomy may be performed to achieve complete tumor removal.
  1. Neck Dissection:

During salivary gland cancer surgery, the surgeon may perform a neck dissection to remove and examine lymph nodes in the neck for signs of cancer spread. This step is crucial for accurate staging and helps guide further treatment decisions.

  1. Nerve Monitoring:

Salivary gland tumors can be located close to important nerves, such as the facial nerve, which controls facial movement. Intraoperative nerve monitoring may be used during surgery to identify and preserve these nerves, reducing the risk of facial paralysis and other nerve-related complications.

  1. Reconstruction:

Following salivary gland cancer surgery, reconstruction may be necessary, especially in cases where large portions of the salivary gland or surrounding structures are removed. Various techniques, including local tissue flaps or microvascular free tissue transfer, can be employed to restore function and aesthetics.

  1. Adjuvant Therapies:

Depending on the type and stage of the cancer, as well as the extent of the surgery, adjuvant therapies such as radiation therapy and, in some cases, chemotherapy may be recommended to target any remaining cancer cells and reduce the risk of recurrence.

  1. Potential Complications:

As with any major surgery, salivary gland cancer surgery carries potential risks and complications, including bleeding, infection, nerve damage, and changes in salivary function. However, with experienced surgeons and specialized surgical centers, the risk of complications is minimized.

  1. Post-Surgery Recovery:

Recovery after salivary gland cancer surgery varies depending on the extent of the procedure and the patient’s overall health. Swelling and temporary changes in facial appearance and sensation are common, but most patients gradually recover over time.

  1. Functional and Aesthetic Outcomes:

Preserving salivary gland function is a crucial consideration during surgery to minimize dry mouth and improve overall quality of life. Additionally, optimizing aesthetic outcomes is essential, especially for tumors near the face or neck.

  1. Psychological and Emotional Support:

Dealing with a rare cancer diagnosis and undergoing major surgery can be emotionally challenging for patients and their families. Access to psychological support and counseling services is essential to help individuals cope with the emotional impact of their diagnosis and treatment.

  1. Long-term Follow-up:

Regular follow-up visits with the medical team are crucial to monitor the patient’s recovery, assess salivary function, and detect any signs of cancer recurrence. Ongoing support and rehabilitation may be necessary to address any long-term effects of the surgery.


Salivary gland cancer surgery is a crucial treatment option for localized salivary gland tumors. The primary goal is to achieve complete tumor removal while preserving salivary gland function and nearby structures. Different surgical techniques are used depending on the location and extent of the tumor. Adjuvant therapies may be recommended in certain cases to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence. Psychological support, rehabilitation, and regular follow-up care are essential components of the comprehensive care provided to patients undergoing salivary gland cancer surgery. Advanced surgical techniques and multidisciplinary approaches continue to improve outcomes for individuals affected by this rare form of cancer.

Salivary Gland Cancer Surgery Clinic:

We provide the best healthcare facilities for Salivary Gland Cancer patients. Our multispeciality clinics are situated in the following locations:

Our Centre's for Salivary Gland Cancer Surgery in Mumbai:


Byculla Branch


Marine Lines Branch


Dadar Branch

One can visit any of our branches that are nearby to your location for the best full-mouth rehabilitation. Our experts not only provide superior quality care using the latest technologies but also provide complete treatment along with rehabilitation facilities and post-operative care.