There are a number of different types of operations that can be used to remove salivary gland cancer. The type of surgery used will depend on the size and the location of the cancer.
Your doctor will explain details of the surgery, general risks and side effects of surgery. Ask your doctor if you have questions. They may recommend:
stopping blood thinners (e.g. aspirin) before surgery to reduce the risk of bleeding
special stockings to reduce the risk of blood clots
early mobilisation (i.e not staying in bed) to reduce the risk of blood clots and chest infection
antibiotics to lower the risk of wound infection.
Before starting treatment, it is important that you consider stopping smoking to reduce the risk of infection and help you fully recovery after your treatment.
This is removal of one or both of the parotid glands (pair of major salivary glands located in front of each ear) and the surrounding tissue.
This is removal of the submandibular glands (located beneath the floor of your mouth) and some of the surrounding tissue and/or bone.
This is removal of the sublingual glands (located in the mouth) and some of the surrounding tissue.
This is removal of facial nerve, which controls facial expression. It is performed when a cancer in the parotid glands has spread to surrounding facial nerve.
This is the removal of some or all of the bone in the temple and behind the ear. It is used when a cancer in the parotid glands spreads into the nearby bone.
This involves taking out the lymph nodes from the neck. It is used when cancer of the salivary glands has spread to the lymph nodes in the neck or there is a risk of cancer in the lymph nodes of the neck.
This may be considered if you have a large area of tissue removed. This may involve taking tissue from another part of the body, this is called a free flap repair. This operation is carried out by a surgeon who specialises in reconstructive surgery, your head and neck surgeon or another surgeon.
A tracheostomy is used to create an opening in the trachea (windpipe) after major head and neck surgery. A tube is inserted into the opening to help you breathe until normal breathing is possible.
Tooth extractions may be recommended to remove any broken or infected teeth before radiation therapy. This is important because removal of unhealthy teeth after radiation therapy can cause problems with the jaw bone.