Salivary glands

Topic Completed: 1 October 2015

Minor changes: 12 March 2020

Copyright: 2002-2020,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Sialolithiasis[TI] salivary[TI]

Sally Tanakchi, M.D.
F. Zahra Aly, M.D., Ph.D.
Page views in 2019: 3,079
Page views in 2020 to date: 1,905
Cite this page: Tanakchi S, Aly FZ. Sialolithiasis. website. Accessed August 8th, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Stones (calculi) within salivary ducts are most common within the submandibular gland, probably due to production of saliva more saturated with calcium, more mucous content and the duct being long and tortuous
  • Calculi are composed of mixtures of different calcium phosphates (hydroxyapatite, carbonate apatite)
  • Nidus of formation is organic material such as bacteria, mucous and desquamated epithelial cells on which the calcium salts are precipitated due to supersaturation and deficit of crystallization inhibitors
  • Presents with pain and swelling at meal time
  • No association between sialoliths and either nephrolithiasis or cholelithiasis, suggesting difference in risk factors and pathogenesis
  • Plain Xray films miss 15% of calculi due to insufficient calcification
  • Recommend sialogram and ultrasound scan
Case reports
  • Surgical removal of calculus or gland
  • Disintegration of calculi with shock wave lithotripsy
Clinical images

Images hosted on other servers:
Missing Image

Asymptomatic nodule

Gross images

Images hosted on other servers:
Missing Image

Removed sialoliths

Missing Image


Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Dilated ducts with squamous metaplasia or calculi
  • Variable chronic inflammation, destruction of acini and fibrosis (sialadenitis)
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:
Missing Image

Lamellated calculi

Back to top