Thirty-nine patients who had undergone transposition of the submandibular ducts and unilateral ligation of a parotid duct for saliva control were followed up six years after surgery. Overall improvement was documented according to a drooling quotient, drooling severity and drooling frequency measures. Despite this superficially favourable outcome, a significant proportion of patients (39 per cent) or their caregivers had not found the surgery helpful. Complications included ranula formation, complaints of dry mouth, difficulty with swallowing, and changes in the consistency of oral secretions. More knowledge is needed of the likely outcomes of this procedure in individual patients, so that appropriate advice can be given and complications minimised.