There are 3 paired major and numerous minor salivary glands. The major glands are the parotid, submandibular and sublingual salivary glands. They are situated in front of the ear, under the lower jaw and under the tongue respectively. They can be affected by various disease processes. Surgery is recommended in a number of circumstances:

Blockage from stone or trauma

Stones commonly affects the submandibular gland. Often the stone can be extracted through the mouth. However, the gland will need to be removed if the stone is within the gland. Occasionally a cyst is formed (ranula) due to blockage of the duct from trauma. The affected gland(s) will also need to be removed.

Non-cancerous growth
Your doctor will usually recommend a fine needle biopsy under ultrasound guidance when a lump is detected. If the result indicates it is a non-cancerous lump, surgery may still be recommended due to the size of the growth or the possibility that it may turn malignant(cancerous) in the future.

Cancer
Surgery may be a treatment option. Surgery may include the removal of the gland and the surrounding lymph nodes. However other treatment such as radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy may also be required.