The salivary glands are small structures in the head and neck, but can give rise to a wide variety of benign and malignant pathology. When this occurs, patients may present with palpable swelling, although it is quite common that they are asymptomatic and a salivary gland mass was discovered as an incidental finding on imaging performed for another reason. It is, therefore, critical that radiologists pay careful attention to the salivary glands and have working knowledge of the key differentiating features of the most common neoplastic and nonneoplastic etiologies of salivary gland masses. The purpose of this review is to provide a succinct image-rich article illustrating the various causes of salivary gland masses via an extensive review of the primary literature. In Part 2, we discuss neoplasms and tumor-like lesions of the salivary glands with a key emphasis on specific imaging features of the most common pathologic entities.
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