Department of Otolaryngology

Salivary Gland and Infection Center

People suffering from problems affecting the saliva glands can find advanced care at UPMC's Salivary Gland Stone and Infection Center.

Doctors at the center:

  • Diagnose and treat salivary gland stones, cancer, and stenosis
  • Perform outpatient surgery for inflammatory salivary gland conditions
  • Offer open surgery for larger salivary gland stones

How We Treat Salivary Gland Conditions

  • Minimally invasive salivary endoscopy: Doctors at the center can often remove stones that form in the glands through the salivary duct openings in the mouth with tiny 1mm endoscopes.
  • Classic open salivary gland surgery: People who have large gland stones or aren't able to have minimally invasive treatment can have classic open surgery, requiring a small cut. But, in most cases, we can avoid these open procedures.

Our Experts

Barry Schaitkin, MD and the team of experts at the UPMC Salivary Gland Stone and Infection Center commit to the proper diagnosis and treatment of people with salivary gland pathology and conditions.

We also work to advance the practice of minimally invasive salivary gland surgical techniques.

Research on Salivary Gland Diseases and Treatments

Dr. Schaitkin and his team are dedicated to furthering research and education on salivary gland diseases, conditions, and treatments. Many of his patients agree to be a part of this research to help further the field, and Dr. Schaitkin often publishes his findings.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

People with salivary gland stones, cancer, or stenosis may experience swelling in front of their ears or below their jaw bones. These symptoms can it make hard to perform everyday activities, such as eating.

Doctors first perform a clinical evaluation to look at the glands and the openings into the mouth. The doctor also looks for growths, cancer, or stones using imaging tests such as:

  • Ultrasound
  • MRI
  • CT scan

Surgical Treatment

Salivary endoscopy surgery

The most common and preferred procedure we perform at UPMC’s Salivary Gland Stone and Infection Center is the salivary endoscopy.

During salivary endoscopy, the doctor dilates the small openings in the mouth and salivary glands and then views the stones using a small 1mm endoscope. Using this endoscope allows for a quicker and less invasive way to remove salivary gland stones.

Because this minimally invasive outpatient surgery often uses a combination of local anesthesia and sedation, patients usually recover more quickly. However, like any surgery, there are possible complications that can occur from salivary endoscopy. Though the risk is low, it's good to be aware of the following possible complications: Failure to retrieve the stone Need for an open (classic) salivary gland procedure Perforation of the duct with infection Swelling Bleeding

Classic open salivary gland surgery

For larger stones or those who aren't able to have minimally invasive salivary endoscopy surgery, doctors can perform classic open surgery. The doctor will need to make a small incision to create a larger opening for removing the salivary gland stone. The incision can create a scar. However, in most cases, we can avoid open salivary gland surgery and scarring.