A new organ was discovered in the throat

With review and feedback from CEENTA ENT doctor Michael Sicard, MD (Matthews)

The human body is a fascinating creation, and doctors are learning new ways to treat it all the time. What’s much rarer is discovering new parts of the body, but that’s just what some Dutch scientists did back in October.

New salivary glands

Those scientists discovered a set of salivary glands – named the tubarial glands – in the nasopharynx region, a portion of the upper throat behind the nose. Until now, scientists thought that area contained only microscopic salivary and mucus glands.

How were these glands discovered?

The doctors who accidentally discovered these glands were using a new imaging system called PSMA PET/CT, which was originally designed to detect the spread of prostate cancer. The glands were invisible under ultrasound, MRI, and traditional CT scans. The glands were present in 100 other people and two cadavers who were studied.

What do these glands do?

Michael Sicard, MDIt’s far too early to determine exactly what these glands do, or what the long-term implications might be. It’s not even known if they are part of the salivary gland system or are a separate entity. However, the current theory is they are a separate organ and probably lubricate and moisten the upper throat behind the nose and mouth.

There is also thought that the discovery of these glands might have implications in the treatment of head and neck cancer.

“It’s an interesting discovery, but we don’t yet know what the significance will be,” CEENTA ENT doctor Michael Sicard, MD, said.

Throat care at CEENTA

If you have concerns about your throat, schedule an appointment at CEENTA. Our doctors keep abreast of all new medical discoveries and will work hard to ensure you are as healthy as possible.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. You can now schedule an appointment online with Dr. Sicard or any of our more than 40 ENT doctors in North and South Carolina. You can also schedule through myCEENTAchart or by calling 704-295-3000.


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