Hard swelling under incision after submandibular gland removal

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Hi everyone,

4 days ago I had my right submandibular gland removed due to an infection in it and subsequent swelling that would not go down. After the surgery, I was in extreme pain for about 36 hours, somewhat at the incision site but mainly in my throat, which I think was due to the breathing tube insertion/removal. I had no swelling when I left the hospital (same day) but when I woke up the next morning (after barely sleeping due to pain and anxiety) I had soft swelling all around the incision. Now, 4 days later I have less pain (still some in my throat), a bit of numbness around the incision and hard swelling around the incision. I am seeing my surgeon within the next week for a follow up but wondered has anyone else experienced this after this or similar surgery? I am on antibiotics and have no signs of infection and I did not have a drain put in post surgery to deal with any potential fluid.

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  • Posted

    wow I am so sorry I don't have anything close to your situation but I am sorry

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  • Posted

    I think it is very early days you should expect some swelling and numbness your body is trying to heal after trauma and it takes time .I had a drain in overnight when i had my op and still had swelling my wound had a numb and sensitive feeling due to the nerves being disturbed during the op it all takes a while to settle down.I hope by now you are feeling a bit better.
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    • Posted

      Thanks for the replies. Yes, I am feeling better now but not yet 100% (it's been 8 days). I still have the numbness and hard swelling under the incision with itchiness and some dull pain at the incision site. I am also experiencing (the last few days) some sensitivity (mild pangs of pain) at the site that might be the nerves coming back to life. How long ago did you have the op, townko? How long before you were back to your normal self? I have my follow up tomorrow to get my stitches out and will update thereafter. 

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    • Posted

      It takes at least 6 weeks for the wound to look healed .It will be 2 years in April been  since my op and i still have slight sensitivity around the area,but its only when i touch the area under my chin.It took a  for it to feel normal its a gradual process and everyone heals differently, you will feel better when your sutures are removed but numbness feeling and sensitivity will take longer.I hope you are feeling better after having your sutures removed.
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    • Posted

      Wow, 2 years, that's a long time! I had my follow up yesterday and my surgeon basically said the same, that it's a slow process, different for everyone but that I am at a normal stage in the process. He took out the stitches and says the hardness under the incision is normal as I have dissolvable stitches under the skin too, which will take about 6 weeks to dissolve. He says it will take at least 2 months for the swelling to subside and maybe the same for the pain to completely subside. He told me to put sun cream on the scar every day for the next year to avoid discoloration. He also said all the dull pain, itchiness, pangs of pain, sensitivity and numbness that I am having are normal. I have another follow up with him in 2 months' time but overall feeling better about the whole procedure and I have accepted that full recovery will be a long haul and I need to be patient. smile

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    • Posted

      It has been 7 days since they removed my gland. My incision is about 5” and I had a drain port for 2 days.  I see my surgeon tomorrow. I also have a hard lump under the scar.  Been sleeping in recliner because when aI lay flat it swells all the way to the other side. I was so happy to see your post. I was afraid something was wrong. At least I know now to expect a long recovery. My scar is large and very lumpy. Is that normal?  My throat and ear still hurts when I open my mouth to eat or yawn. I’m thinking it’s not from the tube they put in my throat.  If there is any advice to help with the scar healing would appreciate it.  My surgeon said Vaseline. But where the drain was is very red.  Relief to know the hardness under scar is normal. Thanks for that!!!
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    • Posted

      Hi Penjo,

      I'm so glad the post has helped. At the time I posted it I hoped it would help someone else because I couldn't find anything out there to help me at the time.

      The hard swelling is very normal apparently, according to my doctor. Four months post surgery and I still have some hardness under the incision and where the gland used to be. I also still have significant numbness and mild limitation in movement on that side of my face/mouth area. My scar is about 3-4 inches and is still quite visible. My doctor said to put sun cream on it every day, even if it's not sunny, to stop it turning a pink color. I still have pain around my incision site even today, it's mild now but still present. My doctor says it's the nerves coming back to life. 

      I saw my surgeon a month ago for my 3 month check up and he said that another 3 months will make a big difference. Yes, the recovery is definitely long, longer than I had anticipated. I was exhausted for about 3 months and while I no longer have anxiety over my operation/incision, I am now having side effects that I have to deal with - LPR (Silent Reflux) combined with dry mouth and all the gastrointestinal issues that come along with that.

      How are you feeling now??

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    • Posted

      Well I went back to work6  days after my surgery. Fell at home that evening after getting 13,000 steps at work. I could barely move my feet. The next day at work I broke down and cried because the boss was being... well .. difficult (on warpath) others were upset but I cried.  She then pulled me in her office and said if I couldn’t handle constructive criticism then  she thought I needed to think about the promotion she just happily gave me right before my surgery.  I told her I had little sleep and was emotional due to my surgery.  She said no excuses... think about it and get back to me... I told her again I wanted to keep my position but each day she continued to treat me coldly and not take my answer. I became stressed out and now have fever blisters.. I finally told her I didn’t want it anymore and my assistant became the Teacher and now I’m the assistant.  That is how my recovery is going. My surgery was June 19th and today my Scar is 5 inches. The right side of my cheek below my eye in front of my ear to my chin hurts to touch and I experience hot pain occasionally, not constant. I have trouble sleeping and I am exhausted most of the time.  My work days I get through and am back to normal there but as soon as I get home I can barely move my feet.  To think I’m going to be this tired for months longer is disheartening but at least I know what I will be dealing with..... I think I went back to work too early.. I had no idea my recovery time would be so long... Is it crazy I’m ok with losing my position?  I’m that tired.  Thanks for the support.
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    • Posted

      I'm sorry to hear what you're going through, if it's any consolation I am not having a good time right now either. My life has taken a complete 180 from what it used to be before the surgery. Perhaps you did go back to work too early. I am a freelancer so I work from home and I wasn't fit to work for about a month. I just can't believe the recovery time for this kind of operation is so long. I was not expecting that.

      I am not sleeping well either.  I haven't slept well in months which of course just exacerbates things. I had awful anxiety for about 2 months and I am still dealing with the emotional trauma of the whole incident and my situation now. 

      I think you did what felt right for you at the time and that's all you can do. You can't project into the future and you just don't sound like you're able for so much at the moment, so you did what you had to do. No regrets!

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    • Posted

      Thanks. We are not alone I’m sure.  I do have anxiety too... and am super sensitive.  I hope we can put this behind us... but for sure I was not prepared for the aftermath.  I’m ready to get over this. Thanks so much for sharing...  
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    • Posted

      hi there, i hope you dont mind me asking but i had my surgery a year and a half ago and i've always noticed since surgery, that my cheek is a lot more puffier, around my jaw line.

      Yesterday someone actually commented on it, although my friends say they dont see it (being too nice), was just wondering if you have the same problem?

      i know they said it can take up to a year to heal but i just feel this wont go and its due to where they stitched me maybe, or water retention? 

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    • Posted

      Hi Amy,

      Sorry i am only 1 month post op, and even though the swelling has decreased by half it is still VERY noticable. My doctor said 12 to 24 months depends on your body. Sorry im not much help.

      Good luck with your continuing recovery.

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  • Posted

    Hi there

    I have a similar thing..had right submandibular gland removed last week. All seems to be healing well but above my incision where gland was is rock solid. I see you said that this is normal but how long did it last for for you?

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    • Posted

      Hi Liz,

      I have replied to you on one of the other threads but I will reply here too. I still have what I perceived to be hardness in the area of the incision but I just had my 3 month follow up today with my surgeon and he was not concerned about the 'hardness' I was feeling. He said it was the oblique muscle now feeling more pronounced to me on that side since I am missing a gland and 1 lymph node. He says the numbness I still have is normal and makes any 'hardness' feel more pronounced. It takes months for the nerves to come back to life apparently and of course everyone heals differently so factor that in too. He wants to see me in another 3 months for a check up but as far as he's concerned, all is normal. How are things with you now??

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    • Posted

      Hi there

      I went to see my consultant for follow up last week and he said the same, that the hardness is normal. My neck is still quite painful and hard but I’ve been told it is scar tissue.

      Tongue is still fairly numb and tingles which I can only assume is nerves coming back.

      I have now got what feels like a hard lump until my tongue that is painful, not sure what that is? It seems to have developed after my op 🙄

      How are you?

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    • Posted

      I haven't had a lip biopsy.  I would like to know  if your lips felt numb or swollen inside without being swollen.  I thought this whole time, was the case.  But I realized my chin and lips were numb.  I was wondering if you had any signs like this before a lip biopsy.

       

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    • Posted

      Hi Liz,

      I'm doing ok. I had my op 3 months ago but really I'm only starting to feel normal again now. The aftermath was no joke for me and included anxiety and depression, from which I'm starting to see the light now. 

      My tongue felt funny for about 2 months after the operation. It was a mixture of numb and tingly. Hard to explain but it eventually went away. Do you notice your mouth being dryer than usual? I had dry mouth before I had the op (due to the infection I had in my gland) but it has not improved since my op. The doctor said removing a salivary gland would not affect the amount of saliva really because we have so many other salivary glands. I didn't get a lump under my tongue but I think I read somewhere else here that somebody else had one. That's good you had a positive follow up visit. Things will pan out, we just need to be patient. I learned that the hard way. smile

       

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    • Posted

      Takes a long time to feel better doesn’t it, I didn’t realise it would! 

      I haven’t noticed a dry mouth but have had lots of tingling and numbness down the side of my tongue, which I still have and seems to feel worse when I eat or talk for some reason. 

      The lump under my tongue I think has only developed in the last week and I had my op nearly three weeks ago. It used to swell when I had the gland but now it’s removed I’m not sure what it is! May be just swelling but hurts when I touch it and also makes my tongue tingle more.. very weird!😂

      I am normally a very active person so finding it really hard that I feel really tired and can’t do a lot still after 3 weeks. 

      Did you have several infections or just one before you had your gland removed?

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    • Posted

      Yes, it does take a long time, I didn't realise it would either. I have been really tired too up until just recently, This last two weeks I am finally not exhausted anymore. Are you sleeping well at night? 

      Oh my tingling of the tongue got worse after eating too. This will eventually pass I'd say, it did for me. Why did you get your gland removed in the first place?  Mine was just one infection but the gland would not go down again so they thought there might also have been a salivary stone or worse that they just couldn't see in the CT Scan. Turns out it was neither, just a nasty infection. 

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    • Posted

      I have been sleeping better now but keep waking up as it aches a lot and gives me tooth ache. Also hurts a lot in the morning too. 

      My gland kept swelling after I ate and was so painful. Went to hospital who said I had a large stone blocking the gland and where it was located I had to have the entire gland removed. When thy did the op it took 3 and half hours as gland was completely stuck to my nerves apparently!

      Just literally feel so tired all the time.

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    • Posted

      Yes, I know the feeling. I'm finally feeling as if I'm coming round to myself now this last 2 weeks or so. My surgeon said this is not a small operation and we should expect to feel out of sorts as the body heals.

      I am sleeping better now too but it took a while. I still get uncomfortable on the side of the incision, and I get earache and often headaches on that side too. All in all though I'm in a much better place than I was just after the op. You'll come around as well, you just need time. 

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    • Posted

      Glad you’re starting to feel better now, even if it has been a long recovery for you. 

      I am the same with the incision side, I get toothache on that side and have a lot of tough scar tissue on it and swelling under my tongue on that side, which I presume is also swelling.

      The tiredness is the worst thing for me at the moment.  I have a complete lack of energy and find it difficult to do much. How long did you experience this for?

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    • Posted

      The exhaustion and weakness lasted about 2 months for me! I couldn't lift heavy things or open tight jars (and things like that) up until just a few weeks ago. That was one side effect I was NOT expecting honestly. The body does what it has to do, I suppose, to heal. You'll get there in good time.

      Where is the scar tissue you talk about? Just underneath the incision site??

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    • Posted

      Sounds like you suffered badly with tiredness, glad you’re feeling better now.

       No it’s above my incision, where the gland used to be. It’s very hard but been told it’s scar tissue.

      The lump under my tongue isn’t pleasant and and becoming painful and pressing on a nerve of my tongue now, which isn’t pleasant. 

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    • Posted

      Same for me, I still have hardness above the incision too. I thought it might have been drainage but my doctor says it's not. He couldn't specifically tell me what it was except the muscle that runs up the neck. I would ring the doctor about your tongue issue, he might be able to shed some light on it for you. smile

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    • Posted

      Yeah it’s painful and constantly feels like I have something stuck under my tongue so quite irritating and presses on my nerve. 

      Said it may remove itself but doesn’t think so due to the size of it so will probably have to go and have it removed 🙄

      How are you doing?

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    • Posted

      My was done 7 days ago. I had 3 stones same symptoms as you. My surgery was over 3 hours also. I guess when he made the cut my gland swelled as big as a tennis ball. So the 1 1/2 hours became Over 3.  I fell yesterday after my first day back at work.  After 13,000 steps at work I couldn’t hardly lift my feet. So down I went. I feel so tired... I want to sleep in my bed but if I lie down for 2 hrs I swell all the way to the other side of my jaw.  Did you have to sleep sitting up afterwards?
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    • Posted

      Hi 

      I did sleep for the first few days propping myself up but that was because I couldn’t move my neck properly. I tend to sleep on the opposite side to where my incision is but have not experienced swelling like you have.

      The tiredness does hit you though, I’m 4 weeks on from my op now and still struggling with tiredness.

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    • Posted

      Oh no, another surgery. I'm sure that's the last thing you want to do but if that is what's required then you have to do it. How long will you wait to see if the stone removes itself?

      I'm ok, dealing with some other issues now related to my surgery, LPR and the gastrointestinal issues associated with it. I'm so fed up being sick...

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    • Posted

      I had to sleep sitting up for about a week after the surgery but I did not have any swelling associated with the surgery, apart from the usual swelling around the incision. I was tired for months after the surgery. I am 3.5 months post surgery now and only started to come round about 3 weeks ago so it takes time and as my doctor said, we all heal differently. Have you asked your doctor about the swelling you're having??

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    • Posted

      Yes he just told me he removed lymph nodes too and there was a huge empty place inside. But it is hard as a rock along my incision.  I am so tired. He said It May take 3 months to feel normal again.  Evidently he said swelling was normal. I feel for you both. Thanks for talking to me. Appreciate your info.  
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    • Posted

      Yeah s bit of a pain but i think I’m going to have to have it done. I’m having to go back next Friday to see the consultant who will then tell me more about having the stone removed. He said it could dislodge itself but because it is quite big probably won’t.

      Sorry to hear you are still having issues, hope you feel better soon.

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    • Posted

      I also suffered from very hard swelling above the incision and on the incision itself and I am a month on from my op now and it is still there but becoming slightly softer. 

      The tiredness is extremely tiring and i still am suffering from pain in my neck but it is getting better slowly.

      Hope you feel better soon smile

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    • Posted

      Thanks Liz,

      I'm getting treatment so hopefully I'll feel better soon. 

      Yes, you're probably better to get the stone out and be pain free. All the best with your next consultation.

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