Salivary glands

Saliva is produced by various salivary glands, including the parotid gland, the submandibular gland, the sublingual gland, and smaller salivary glands which are widely distributed throughout the aerodigestive mucosal tissue. Saliva is then secreted through the appropriate ducts of the glands so that it may line mucosal tissue and aid in digestion, swallowing function, local immune defense and as a solvent for taste substances.

We specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of:

  • salivary stones
  • autoimmune and rheumatological diseases
  • malignant and benign tumors

Diseases of the salivary glands

Salivary stones

Recurrent swelling or infections of the saliva glands is most commonly attributed to salivary stones, which may block the salivary ducts, causing a drainage obstruction. Treatment hereof may be achieved by a minimally invasive endoscopic (“Sialoendoscopy”) or transoral surgical methods, with which one can remove stones through the saliva glands. Removal of entire salivary glands may be necessary in selected cases.

Rheumatological and Autoimmune Disease Processes:

Sjögren Syndrome is a systemic autoimmune disease which presents with a myriad of symptoms, most prominently dry mucosal tissues, as well as systemic problems such as generalized fatigue and joint and muscle pain. It counts as one of the more common rheumatological diseases, with an estimated global incidence of 61 per 100,000 individuals and a prevalence of 0.4% in Germany (Stefanski, Tomiak et al. 2017). The disease primarily affects women, with a ratio of at least 9:1.

Other systemic diseases of this category with which we have extensive experience include Sarcoidosis, IgG-4-associated diseases and juvenile recurrent parotitis

Tumors of the salivary glands

Tumors may result either directly from the glands or be due to metastases (for example skin cancer).  We place a particular emphasis on thorough preoperative diagnostic procedures to reduce perioperative risks.

 Our high-end ultrasound imaging devices allow us to examine tissue and tumors without using potentially harmful ionizing radiation.

In cases in which an operation is necessary we offer extensive surgical experience in all types of salivary gland surgery. Our team has performed more than 1500 removals of the parotid and submandibular glands in the last 20 years. Intraoperative neuromonitoring of the facial nerve is a standard in our clinic.

Head of department

Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Barbara Wollenberg


PD Dr. med. Benedikt Hofauer