WFUMB position paper. Incidental findings of the salivary glands

Ewa J. Bialek, Adrian Lim, Yi Dong, Daniela Fodor, Norbert Gritzmann, Christoph F. Dietrich


A salivary incidentaloma (SI) stands for any focal salivary lesion, independent of size, discovered by any imaging method including ultrasonography (US), computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), multimodal positron emis-sion tomography (PET) combined with CT or MRI, or X-ray imaging, performed for another reason, in the absence of known salivary glands’ disease. The article presents a detailed analysis of salivary gland diseases with the emphasis on neoplasms. It describes frequency of SIs found on imaging, their prevalence, epidemiology and clinical significance. The probability of malignancy or malignant transformation of a SI, its imaging features, recommended treatment, management and follow-up, as well as ethical issues, psychological burden, informed decision making, economical consequences and costs are discussed. The general prevalence of SIs is low, but is dramatically increasing over time, and may rise significantly in selected groups of oncologic patients. SIs most frequently turn out to be benign primary neoplasms or pseudotumors, including intraparenchymal lymph nodes. SIs detected by other imaging methods should be subsequently assessed with US. Solid SIs demand ultrasound guided fine-needle aspiration cytology (US-FNAC). Neoplasms should undergo surgery. Post-operative US follow-up is man-datory for malignant tumors and recommended for benign neoplasms.


salivary gland; incidenaloma; guideline; neoplasia; inflammation

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