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  • What are the possible problems?

    Bleeding from the wound is unlikely to be a problem. If it occurs, it usually does so within the first 12 hours of surgery which is why you need to stay in hospital overnight.

    Infection is uncommon but if your surgeon thinks it may happen to you a short course of antibiotics will be arranged.

  • Will I have a scar?

    All cuts made through the skin leave a scar, but the majority of these fade with time and are difficult to see when they are fully healed.

    It may take several months for your scar to fade but eventually it should blend into the natural folds and contours of your face.

  • Do I need any time off work?

    It is usually advisable to take a week off from work to recover from the surgery. During this time, you should avoid strenuous activity.

  • What can I expect after the operation?

    You usually require a night in hospital following the surgery. It is unlikely to be very sore but regular painkillers will be arranged for you.

    There is relatively little swelling following submandibular gland removal.

  • How long will the operation take?

    The length of time partly depends upon the degree of difficulty.

    In an uncomplicated procedure it will take approximately 45 minutes to remove the submandibular gland.

  • What does the operation involve?

    The submandibular gland is removed under a general anaesthetic, i.e. you are put to sleep completely.

    The operation involves a cut around two inches long (5cm) in the upper part of the neck just below the jaw line.

    Once the gland has been removed the incision is held together again with stitches. These usually need to be removed around a week after surgery.

    At the end of the operation a small tube is also placed through the skin into the underlying wound to drain any blood which may collect. This is usually removed on the morning following surgery.

  • What is the submandibular gland?

    The submandibular gland is a salivary gland about the size of a plum that lies immediately below the lower jaw. Saliva drains from it through a tube that opens on the inside of the mouth under the tongue immediately behind the lower front teeth.

    The most common reason for removing a submandibular gland is as a result of infection that occurs if the tubes that drain saliva become blocked. Blockages usually arise as a result of stones.

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    Nicholas Lee: Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon, Sheffield UK