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Saliva Gland Stone - Can I Avoid an Operation?

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 17 Mar 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Saliva Salivary Gland Stones Stone

Q.

I have a stone in my saliva gland and was wondering what alternative medicine I may be able to take instead of an operation?

I came across some American sites but I am not sure if they are 100% acurate or a big con. Any help would be appreciated.

(Mr George Pornaris, 4 December 2008)

A.

Salivary glands stones occur as minerals in the duct, they collect and crystallise, hence forming a stone which is known medically as a calculi. This can cause pain and swelling in the mouth which can be very unpleasant, especially if a large stone has formed.

When we eat we naturally produce saliva which aids swallowing and begins the process of digestion, occasionally a stone can develop and whilst not particularly dangerous in the long term, can be very uncomfortable and usually forces the person to seek advice and treatment. As the duct is blocked by the stone, it is also likely that there will be less saliva in the mouth which will seem as though it is constantly dry, this can cause people to stop eating as normal as they have difficulty swallowing with less saliva.

If the stone is sitting at the end of the duct and is not too big, it may be possible to simply ease it along until it has left the duct, however for many this is not a viable option.

It is possible to treat the stone with an alternative to open surgery and this is called sialendoscopy and involves using a very thin probe and camera that enters the duct. When the stone is located a very fine pair of graspers is introduced which will grab the stone and remove it.

Not all health care providers will be able to offer this treatment depending on the availability of the equipment and the expertise of the staff. In this case a small operation will be carried out to remove the stone, or if they frequently recur, the salivary gland itself.

Salivary stone removal may be carried out using a general anaesthetic but is frequently done as a day-patient and recovery is usually uneventful if you have no other medical problems. A little discomfort or swelling is to be expected but should subside as time passes.

If you are very fearful of having surgery, please speak to your specialist or GP about other forms of treatment as it may be possible to remove the stone without the need for an operation.

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