Cervicofacial mycobacterial infections presenting as major salivary gland disease

Laryngoscope. 1983 Oct;93(10):1271-5. doi: 10.1002/lary.1983.93.10.1271.


Mycobacterium tuberculosis and atypical mycobacterium are well-known causes of cervical lymphadenopathy, most often presenting without symptoms of systemic infection. These organisms may also directly involve the parenchyma of the major salivary glands and their periglandular or intraglandular nodes. The diagnosis of mycobacterial infections of the major salivary glands, compared to cervical lymph nodes, is equally--if not more--difficult to make. The differential must include the same spectrum of inflammatory and neoplastic diseases as well as lesions unique to the salivary glands. Selected cases are presented and discussed to show that principles established for the treatment of cervical mycobacterial infections must also be applied to major salivary gland infections. In particular, cutaneous fistulas may result from incisional biopsy or incision and drainage of the involved gland. Partial parotidectomy or submaxillary gland excision may be required, followed by multidrug, antituberculous chemotherapy for one to two years. Culturing of the organisms is extremely difficult, and the diagnosis of either mycobacterium tuberculosis or atypical mycobacterial infection must be based on a combination of history and clinical examination, skin testing, histopathology, acid-fast stains, culture, and response to surgery and antituberculous chemotherapy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Face
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck
  • Parotid Diseases / diagnosis
  • Parotid Diseases / pathology
  • Parotid Gland / pathology
  • Salivary Gland Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Salivary Gland Diseases / pathology
  • Submandibular Gland / pathology
  • Submandibular Gland Diseases / diagnosis
  • Submandibular Gland Diseases / pathology
  • Tuberculosis, Lymph Node / diagnosis*
  • Tuberculosis, Lymph Node / pathology