Salivary gland tumors

"Tumors are the most important pathology of the salivary glands, since their treatment requires most of the time the complete removal of the affected gland".


What is a salivary gland tumor?

Most salivary gland tumors are benign, but if left untreated, they grow and can cause major problems and make their removal increasingly difficult.

The largest of the salivary glands is the parotid gland and it is the one most frequently affected.

Tumors in this area usually begin with a lump in front of or under the earlobe. It is important that an otolaryngologist or a maxillofacial surgeon evaluate this area so that the best treatment can be indicated early.


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What are the symptoms of a salivary gland tumor?

Tumors of the salivary glands are suspected by the presentation of a tumor in the area, usually painless, and its diagnosis is confirmed with imaging tests.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Lump in the periauricular area.
  • Discomfort with swallowing.

Do you have any of these symptoms?

You may have a tumor in your salivary gland

How are salivary gland tumors treated?

Benign tumors in the parotid gland are relatively frequent and their removal is recommended for preventive reasons (over the years some may become malignant) or for aesthetic reasons, since they produce deformations. 

The objective of the treatment of salivary gland pathologies by means of minimally invasive techniques seeks to treat only the area of the affected gland, with the aim of minimizing the impact on the subsequent quality of life.

With extracapsular dissection and unlike conventional surgery for removal, it is possible to preserve the gland in the vast majority of cases, reducing the risks that may involve aesthetic deformities such as facial nerve paralysis or loss of facial volume or Frey's syndrome (profuse sweating of the skin of the parotid region when eating food).

In addition, the function of the organ, which in most cases is a healthy gland, is maintained. Since these are minimally invasive techniques, pain is minimized and recovery is very fast, so that in most cases the patient can return to work the next day.

Treatment of salivary gland tumors will always be surgical.

Parotidectomy is a very delicate operation since the parotid gland is closely related to the facial nerve, which is in charge of moving the muscles of the face.

Therefore, an experienced maxillofacial surgeon must be able to perform the removal of any of the glands without affecting the nerves or the structures that surround them.

In addition, it is an operation that must leave well-disguised scars of a small size without damaging the facial nerve.

If during the removal of the injury was damaged the facial nerve, techniques can be performed facial nerve reconstruction. Our Department of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery has great experience in this type of treatment.

We work in a coordinated and joint way with the related departments to achieve the best attention to our patients.

Malignant tumors sometimes require more aggressive treatments and need the removal of the facial nerve, neck lymph nodes, etc. 

Where do we treat it?


The Department of Otolaryngology
of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra

The Department of Otorhinolaryngology of the University of Navarra Clinic is a national and world reference in numerous highly specialized surgical procedures.

We have the latest technology and we perform all diagnostic tests in less than 48 hours in order to offer our patients the best solution in the shortest time possible.

We were one of the first centers in Spain to use robotic surgery in the surgical treatment with the Da Vinci® System. 

Organized in specialized units:

  • Otology - Hearing.
  • Rhinology - Nose.
  • Pharyngology - Throat.
  • Laryngology - Voice.
  • Balance disorders.
  • Head and neck problems.
Imagen de la fachada de consultas de la sede en Pamplona de la Clínica Universidad de Navarra

Why at the Clinica?

  • Experts in the treatment of hearing problems.
  • Pioneers in axillary surgery to avoid scarring.
  • National reference center in tissue sealing for tonsil removal.

Our team of professionals