Over the past few months, I have noticed that the area on my left side, in front of and below my ear, at the upper end of the jaw bone, is quite swollen. In fact, it seemed to me that there was a hard lump there. At around the same time, my left ear would get plugged, especially when I'd be working out, but that seems to have gone away on its own. The doctor did not seem concerned and sent me for x-rays (which were normal - no TMJ, etc.) and to the ENT specialist (everything was perfectly normal, except for a minor nasal obstruction in the left nostril that he recommended be surgically fixed somewhere down the road). The ENT specialist also wasn't too concerned when he felt this lump, simply saying that I have a strong jaw line and those were only my salivary glands.
I had a CT scan that came back normal. Recently, I also had a full physical exam, including a detailed blood test, which turned out perfectly fine.
Over the past few days, my left salivary gland has become noticeably more swollen. It doesn't hurt, but it does feel a little uncomfortable and it has stayed like this for the past few days (normally, in the past, the swelling would be much more temporary in nature). I've been massaging it and putting a cold compress on it, both of which seem to have made it worse. I do chew a lot of gum but the way this is shaping up is scaring me, and if the gum was causing this, wouldn't both sides of my face be affected? If, god forbid, this were some kind of a tumor, would the CT scan of my head have shown it???
When I was about 10 years old, I had a blocked salivary gland. Whenever I ate, it would swell up and hurt. I had laser surgery on it in hopes that making the opening larger would let out whatever was stuck there. It did, and I haven't had any problems since.
Ask your doctor if a simple blockage is possible.
I saw a doctor today who said that it's a swollen lymph node, most likely from an infection (especially since there is a very small, pimple-like thing, on top of it. He prescribed an antibiotic, suggested I take it for a week and then, if the swelling doesn't go down, see a general surgeon who would have to take a biopsy to make sure there is nothing serious in there. According to this doctor, the CT scan of my head would not have shown anything in the lymph nodes, since it was only checks the head/brain and not the sides of the face for various tumors, etc.
Quite frankly, I was a little freaked out when he told me this info, although he mentioned that it is most likely just an infection and that any type of cancerous growths in these lymph nodes are very rare.
I hope I won't have to go under the knife for a biopsy, let alone anything else.
I have also had a swollen parotid gland for approx. 9 monthes have been on 3 courses of antibotics did not help. Finally went to ENT and ct scan shows 3 lesions of my parotid gland. So it has to come up. 80% are not malignant but they still need to come out because the continue to grow and can come malignant. And then there is the 20% that are malignant and they can not tell until the tumor is out. Risk to facial nerves increases with time. Do not mess around get to a good ENT and have it examined. By the way you need a ct scan of the neck not the head.
Last edited by pstuck; 03-26-2008 at 08:10 AM.
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Oh, my... I really hope that these antibiotics will work. The last thing I need right now are health complications of any sort, especially considering that I'm getting married in a few months.
I have already seen an ENT specialist who said that everything was fine, except for a minor nasal obstruction that may require surgery down the road. I asked him about the sides of my jaw being swollen and he said those are just my salivary glands. He didn't seem to think much of it but did recommend I see a neurologist for some of my other symptoms (numbness, tingling, etc.)
The doctor I saw at the Walk-in clinic the other day said that there is no test that can show anything suspicious in these areas, so the lymph node would have to be taken out and a biopsy would then be done.
I've been on antibiotics for three days now and have not noticed any improvement. I realize I haven't been taking them for nearly as long as I should be (a week or more) before any changes can be noticed, but I'm starting to get very worried. I went to a different doctor today who did not seem to think the swelling was normal. The only thing that's comforting me somewhat is that the swelling is symmetrical - both below my right and left ear, but the left side is much larger. I also keep thinking that perhaps the CT scan of my head would've indicated at least some abnormality if there was one, and also that my latest comprehensive blood test would not be as perfect as it was. This doctor is going to send me to an ultrasound of the lymph node, which will hopefully be able to tell us more about the entire condition. As you can imagine, I'm extremely nervous about the results and I'm finding it very difficult to remain optimistic.
Any further insights/experiences/opinions would certainly be welcome.
Thank you all. I had an ultrasound today and everything looks normal, which is a HUGE relief, especially after having heard (prior to today) from one doctor that the swelling was cause for concern. I was very scared! The antibiotics also helped a little but not completely, so I'm not sure what's going on. The radiologist said that I can rest assured there are no tumors or anything like that, since she would've definitely been able to see that right away. The doctor who looked at the pictures does not think a biopsy is even needed.
Of course, all of this means that there is an unknown cause to my swallen salivary gland(s), but I am so happy and grateful that I am healthy and that it's nothing serious (at least not a tumor or anything of that sort!).