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Salivary gland stones

Q: Can one develop a stone in salivary glands? If so, how is it treated in allopathy? Is it necessary to operate for removal? What is the alternate treatment if one does not want to go in for operation?

A:Stones can develop in the salivary gland ducts and these are known as sialoliths. It is principally a disease of the submandibular gland (80-95% of cases), although it can occur in the parotid or minor salivary glands. The majority of submandibular sialoliths are radiopaque, whereas this applies to only a minority of parotid calculi. Stones may be revealed because of recurrent swelling and pain that may be exacerbated by superimposed infection. Stones of the salivary glands occur in 1% of the population. They are most commonly found between ages 30 and 50 years, although they are rarely reported in children.
Symptoms include pain and swelling of the gland. Other conditions which need to be excluded are infections, inflammation, and cancer. Stones may be confirmed by palpation (feeling with the fingers) or purulent discharge from the glandular duct with massage. Plain X-rays, ultrasonography and CT scans are helpful for imaging, and sonography or CT scans can reveal diagnoses other than stones.
Treatment consists of antibiotics, moist heat, massage, sialogogues (hard candies/sweets to promote glandular secretions), and sialolithotomy, if necessary, using probes or endoscopy. Transoral removal of an obstructing stone may be accomplished if the stone is situated near the duct opening. Recurrent symptoms caused by salivary calculi may require surgical excision of the involved salivary gland.

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