Salivary glands

Andrew Murphy and Dr Jeremy Jones et al.

The salivary glands within the head and neck secrete various enzymes useful for mastication and digestion. They can be divided into major and minor salivary glands:

The major salivary glands consist of the larger, paired salivary glands within the neck:

There are up to 600 minor salivary glands located throughout the oral cavity within the lamina propria of the oral mucosa. They are 1-2 mm in diameter and are not encapsulated, unlike the major salivary glands. Instead, they are simply surrounded by connective tissue.

Deep salivary glands are also known as von Ebner glands and are found within the circumvallate papillae of the tongue 1.

In 2020, Valstar et al 4 reported the discovery of previously overlooked salivary tissue in the nasopharynx. PSMA-positive, paired structures with mucous glands on histology were identified near the torus tubarius. These may explain radiotherapy-associated xerostomia.

Anatomy: Head and neck

Anatomy: Head and neck

Article information

rID: 10456
System: Head & Neck
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Salivary gland
  • Deep salivary glands

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