What anatomy is relevant to understanding submandibular sialadenitis/sialadenosis?

Updated: May 12, 2020
  • Author: Adi Yoskovitch, MD, MSc; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Answer

The submandibular gland, along with the parotid and sublingual glands, comprise the major salivary glands. The minor salivary glands are scattered along the upper aerodigestive tract, including the lips, mucosa of the oral cavity, pharynx, and hard palate.

The submandibular gland is the second largest (approximate weight, 10 g) of the major salivary glands (the parotid gland is the largest). Anatomically, it is situated in the submandibular triangle of the neck.

The gland itself can be arbitrarily divided into superficial and deep lobes based on its relationship to the mylohyoid muscle, the former lying superficial to the muscle, and the latter wrapping around the posterior aspect of the muscle. The gland itself lies on the hyoglossus muscle, superficial to both the hypoglossal and the lingual nerves, the latter supplying parasympathetic innervation by way of the chorda tympani nerve (from cranial nerve VII) and the submandibular ganglion. The duct of the submandibular gland, also known as the Wharton duct, exits the gland from the deep lobe, passing through the floor of the mouth, and opening in close proximity to the lingual frenulum. See the image below.

Sialogram with stenosis secondary to chronic siala Sialogram with stenosis secondary to chronic sialadenosis.

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