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Submandibular gland

Latin: glandula submandibularis
German: Glandula submandibularis

1 Definition

The submandibular gland is one of the three major salivary glands of the head.

2 Location

The submandibular gland is located in the submandibular triangle, lodged between the lower jaw (mandibula) and the anterior and posterior bellies of the digastric muscle.

The gland can be divided into one larger, more superficial and one smaller, deeper part that are separated by the mylohyoid muscle. Their excretory duct, called the submandibular duct, enters the lateral sulcus of the tongue and leads to the oral cavity, below the tongue. The site where the duct opens into the oral cavity is called the sublingual caruncle.

3 Histology

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The submandibular gland is a mixed gland (it contains both serous and mucous cells), arranged in a branched tubuloacinar structure. Most of the cells form serous acini with individual mucous tubes between them.

4 Innervation

Parasympathetic innervation of the submandibular gland is provided by nerve cells that are located in the superior salivary nucleus. On their way to the submandibular ganglion, the axons join the facial nerve, the chorda tympani and the lingual nerve. After synapsing at the ganglion, the postganglionic nerve fibers reach the submandibular glandula.

Sympathetic nerve fibers originate in the superior cervical ganglion.

5 Pathology

The submandibular gland is most frequently affected by salivary stones (sialolithiasis).

Specialties: Anatomy

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