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Salivary gland tumors. Diagnostic characteristics of the common types.

The salivary glands can be the site of a wide array of pathologic conditions. Information from the history is very important in diagnosis. During physical examination, the clinician can determine whether a mass is distinct or diffusely enlarged and can check for mobility and skin fixation. The depth of the mass and its relationship to other structures can be assessed and the ductal orifice evaluated for purulence, turbidity, and absence of salivary flow. Studying the patient's face also provides diagnostic clues. Surgery provides the best basis for histologic diagnosis and allows complete removal of the mass. Fortunately, most neoplasms are benign and their treatment is straightforward.

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