superior ear nose and throat

superior ent services

Gland Disorders

Thyroid Gland - Salivary Glands


Thyroid Gland

What the gland does- The thyroid gland is an important endocrine gland that regulates and makes hormones in the body. These hormones are integral in regulating certain processes such as your metabolism.  Disease affecting the thyroid gland is very common and is usually an over-active or under-active thyroid disorder.
Thyroid “lumps and bumps”- If a lump in the thyroid is found it may be evaluated under an ultrasound machine with or without a needle biopsy. This test may help in differentiating between malignant and benign masses in the thyroid gland.
       Most thyroid “bumps” are benign.  If a fine needle aspiration is reported as a cancer or suspected cancer a thyroid surgery may be recommended.
Thyroid Surgery-Surgery is performed to remove all or only a portion of the thyroid gland.  The procedure is done under general anesthesia and most patients are discharged home 1 to 3 days after the surgery. Some patients may be sent home with a drain from the incision site left in place. This prevents excess fluid from building up in the wound and is removed when the fluid draining is minimal.

Complications from surgery-they are rare but do include the following:

  • Bleeding
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Numbness of the skin on the neck
  • Low Calcium

After Surgery- Patients who have had surgery on their thyroid glands often have to take thyroid medication to supplement their thyroid hormones. Some patients may even need to take calcium supplements if their calcium becomes low afterwards. Several sets of blood tests may be ordered to monitor this following the surgery.

Salivary Glands

What are they- Salivary glands are the glands that are located in your mouth and throat and secrete saliva. The major salivary glands are the parotid, submandibular and sublingual glands. You also have minor salivary glands that are located in your lips, inner cheek area and diffusely throughout your mouth and throat. The saliva that is produced helps to moisten your mouth, protects your teeth from decay and initiates digestion.
Problems arising in salivary glands- There are several different problems that can arise in any of the major salivary glands. The following are a few of the most common:
            Salivary gland obstruction: Usually from stones that form in the gland and are unable to exit from the small ducts in the glands. When you eat or drink the gland naturally secretes saliva, if the stone is present in the duct, saliva is unable to be secreted and backs up into the gland. This leads to acute pain and swelling of the gland which slowly subsides over time.
            Salivary Gland infection: Infection in a salivary gland can occur from pooled saliva caused by a stone or from other sources of viruses and bacteria. Mumps is a viral infection of the parotid glands, involves both glands and may be present in those not immunized against the virus.
            Tumors: Tumors in the salivary glands may be benign or malignant. They usually present as painless enlargements of the glands. Any lump or enlargement felt in a gland should be evaluated by an otolaryngologist.

Treatment of salivary gland disorders-Salivary gland stones usually dissolve or get flushed from the gland spontaneously. To help with symptoms patients can use warm compresses to the area, increase hydration and suck on lemon candy to try and continue flushing the gland. Infections in the gland may warrant treatment with an antibiotic and will benefit from the treatments recommended for salivary stones. Tumors or painless enlargements of the salivary glands should be evaluated by an ENT physician and further testing done. Cat Scans and/or needle biopsies may be performed to assess the benign or malignant nature of the enlargement in the gland.




marquette michigan services