Salivary Gland Symptoms and Diagnosis :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Salivary Gland Symptoms and Diagnosis

If you, or your child, have been told you need a salivary gland ablation and want to pursue minimally invasive treatment, call our Interventional Coordinator at (614) 722-2375 to set up a consultation with an Interventional Radiologist. You may also request an appointment using our online form.

Transition of care

Dr. Shiels dedicated his life to advancing the field of radiology in order to provide the best care to children in our community, across the country and around the world. As we remember and celebrate his work, we will remain ever-grateful for his passionate mentorship of our radiology team and staff – some of whom have worked side by side with Dr. Shiels for more than a decade. Everything Dr. Shiels learned over his career, he taught to and instilled in his staff including his revolutionary advancements in interventional radiology and ultrasound; treating lymphatic malformations; bone tumor ablation, aneurysmal bone cyst and salivary gland ablation.  His passion inspires the entire team to continue delivering the best possible care to children everywhere and his legacy will live in the advancements we continue to make here at Nationwide Children’s.

What are the symptoms someone would experience to need a salivary gland ablation?

The most common symptoms in patients who have too much saliva or difficulty managing their saliva, are choking on their saliva, "breathing in" saliva into the wind pipe (trachea) and the lungs, and drooling. Patients with a ranula have recurrent cysts in the floor of their mouth or an enlarging neck mass (cyst) due to continual saliva production into the neck tissues.

Diagnosis of Too Much Saliva

A physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant makes the diagnosis during a physical examination, when the patient is observed to have excessive saliva flowing from the mouth (drooling). Some patients will also undergo a test known as a "swallowing study," during which patients' swallowing is evaluated with a radiology procedure (using a camera) known as fluoroscopy.

Diagnosis of a Ranula

A physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant makes the diagnosis of a ranula during a physical examination, when the patient is found to have a large bubble (cyst) in the mouth (simple ranula; under the front of the tongue), or a lump in the side of the neck under the jaw  (plunging or diving ranula). Occasionally, a patient with a ranula will have an infection in the fluid collection (ranula). Radiology tests such as ultrasound, MRI, or CT of the neck are used to confirm the diagnosis of ranula.

Featured Physician

James Murakami, MD
James Murakami,

Personally trained by Dr. Shiels, James Murakami, MD, MS, will be carrying on the care of Dr. Shiels' patients. A faculty member at Nationwide Children's for more than 15 years, Dr. Murakami has interventional radiology interests focusing on sclerotherapy of vascular malformations and benign cysts of the head and neck, orbits, and bones.

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