ZocdocAnswersWhat is this swollen spot under my jawline?

Question

What is this swollen spot under my jawline?

Right underneath my jaw on the left hand side there is a little swollen bump. Is this a gland? Like maybe the salivary gland? Why would a salivary gland be swollen and what does that mean?

Answer

There are several different possible things this swollen bump cold be. First, it is possible (as you said) that this could be a salivary gland. Most of the time, these glands are small enough that they are difficult to feel through the skin. On occasion, they can become inflamed or infected and can enlarge to the point where they can be felt. When this occurs, they can also become very painful to the touch. If your bump is larger, but not painful, then I would say it is unlikely to be an infected or inflamed salivary gland. Salivary gland cancer is a possible cause of non-painful gland enlargement, but this is quite rare. The other possibility is that this bump is a swollen lymph node. Depending on its exact location under your jaw, this is probably the more likely possibility. Lymph noes act as housing sites for immune cells. They get bigger during times of an infection. For example if you get a sore throat or some other infection in your upper respiratory tract, then the lymph nodes in that area will activate to fight the infection. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can examine your bump and determine what the most likely cause is. Good luck.

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