Treatment for Salivary Gland Conditions in Flower Mound, TX
Saliva is critical for everyday functions such as swallowing and digestion, and can also help to protect teeth from decay caused by bacteria. Saliva is produced by three specific glands in the body called the submandibular gland, the sublingual gland, and the parotid gland. The parotid gland accounts for approximately 25% of all saliva production in the mouth.
Dysfunctions of the parotid gland, or problems within the cells of this tissue, may require comprehensive treatment from Dr. Bickert. Such treatment is most often related to a type of parotid surgery.
Common Problems with the Parotid Gland
Complications of the salivary glands are most often related to a blockage within the ducts of this gland that prevent the saliva from releasing properly, or are due to the growth of a tumor within the tissue of the gland.
Salivary Duct Issues
A salivary duct may become blocked for a variety of reasons, though the most common causes consist of:
- Sialadentitis: An infection of the gland
- Viral infections: The salivary glands are likely to swell when the body is compromised by the mumps, the flu, or other viral infections
- Sialadenosis: The enlargement of the parotid gland without a known cause
- Sialolithiasis: The formation of a calcified stone within the gland (similar to the development of a kidney stone)
- A cyst: A benign, fluid-filled sac
- Sjögren's syndrome: A chronic, autoimmune disease that leads the white blood cells to attack the body’s salivary glands in addition to other moisture-producing glands in the body
Of the three types of salivary glands, the parotid are by far the most likely to be affected by the development of a tumor. These tumors are often found to be totally harmless and benign, though it is possible for cancerous tumors to form within the salivary glands as well. A physical exam, biopsy, and diagnostic imaging tests may each need to be performed in order to accurately diagnosed a case of salivary gland cancer.
Parotid Gland Surgery in Flower Mound, TX
Surgical procedures can be utilized to treat issues of parotid gland cancer, or to correct a number of other problems with this gland. Such methods of treatment may result in a portion of the parotid gland being removed, or may even require the removal of the entire gland in severe instances.
The parotid gland consists of two lobes: the superficial lobe and the deep lobe. A superficial parotidectomy aims at removing part of, or all of the superficial lobe of this gland.
The procedure involves Dr. Bickert making an incision to the side of the face, which is where the parotid glands are located. At this point, the surgeon will remove an appropriate amount of tissue from the gland, and may also excise some additional tissue to ensure that there are clean margins around the area to prevent the tumor from returning.
Dr. Bickert also has specialized expertise in performing a total parotidectomy using the same type of incision made for a superficial parotidectomy. As its name implies, a total parotidectomy is the complete removal of the parotid gland, which includes both the superficial and deep lobes being expelled from the patient’s facial tissue.
Related Surgery for the Lymphatic System
Cancers of the parotid gland are known to spread to nearby lymph nodes if the disease progresses. Patients with this type of case will often have lymphatic tissues within the neck removed at the same time that parotid surgery is performed.