What are the possible complications?

November 1, 2019

There are three nerves that lie close to the submandibular gland that can be damaged during its removal. Most nerve damage occurs as a result of bruising of the nerves since they are held out of the way and protected during surgery. If nerve damage occurs, it is usually temporary but can be permanent.

There are three nerves that can be damaged all with varying results:

Weakness of the lower lip

A lower branch of the facial nerve is the nerve most likely to be bruised in the removal of a submandibular gland. If bruising occurs it affects the movement of your lower lip, leading to a slightly crooked smile.

Numbness of the tongue

The lingual nerve is rarely bruised. Since it is the nerve that supplies feeling to the side of the tongue, bruising results in a tingly or numb feeling in the tongue similar to the sensation after having an injection at the dentist.

Restricted tongue movement

The hypoglossal nerve is only very rarely bruised. It is a nerve that makes the tongue move, and damage can therefore result in decrease of tongue movement.

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Nicholas Lee: Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon, Sheffield UK