The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


This leaflet has been designed to improve your understanding of your forthcoming treatment and contains answers to many of the common questions. If you have any other questions that the leaflet does not answer or would like further explanation please ask your surgeon.

What is a sialogram?

A sialogram is a dye investigation of a salivary gland. It is carried out to look in detail at the larger salivary glands, namely the parotid or submandibular glands. These glands drain saliva into your mouth through small tubes (ducts). The parotid duct opens on the inside of the cheek next to the upper back teeth. The submandibular duct opens on the inside of the mouth under the tongue immediately behind the lower front teeth.

What does a sialogram involve?

The radiologist (X-ray doctor) who performs your sialogram will pass a small plastic tube into the duct of the saliva gland under investigation. The tube is blunt and therefore this part of the investigation is not particularly painful and does not require a local anaesthetic injection. Once this tube is in the correct position dye will be injected through it into the saliva gland. This takes a few minutes. The tube is then removed and X-ray pictures are taken.

How long will the sialogram take?

It usually takes around 30 minutes to perform the investigation from start to finish but it is important to remember that just because a sialogram takes a little longer it does not necessarily mean that there is something wrong.

Can I eat or drink?

You may eat, drink and continue to take any medication prior to your sialogram.

Does it hurt?

A sialogram is painless although you may experience some discomfort in your salivary gland as the dye is injected into it.

Is there anything else that I need to know?

It takes a long time to look at all the pictures that your sialogram produces and so the report will not be available for several days. You will be sent an appointment to be reviewed in the outpatient department to discuss the findings of your sialogram and any further treatment that might be necessary.