Scientists have made a surprising revelation in a recent study. A team of oncologists at the Netherlands Cancer Institute has found an unusual set of salivary glands concealed inside the human head. This has been undiscovered for centuries until now. Experts have been examining patients with prostate cancer using an advanced type of scan known as PSMA PET/CT. When this imaging technique is combined with radioactive glucose injections, it highlights cancer in the body. During the study, the diagnostic tool has shown an entirely different organ, which has been concealed in the rear of the nasopharynx for ages. This discovery has been published in the journal of Radiotherapy and Oncology. Experts have said that this is a set of mucous glands with several draining vessels.
The author of the study Dr. Wouter Vogel has said that usually, people have up to 1000 very small salivary glands, which are evenly spread out across the mucous. Such glands cannot be seen without a microscope. Experts have said that they have been pleasantly surprised by the discovery. They have named this new organ as tubarial glands. These newly discovered glands are quite large. It will be the fourth set of major salivary glands in the human body, which are situated behind the nose and above the palate, quite close to the center of the head.
Experts have said that these glands can lead to certain complications among cancer patients who are taking radiation therapy. Such patients might deal with dysphagia, which causes trouble in swallowing. However, the discovery of these glands will help experts avoid such issues. These tubarial glands have been seen in all 100 patients who have been included in the study. This organ has not been discovered earlier because it is found at poorly reachable anatomical areas like the skull base. It makes it difficult to be found endoscopically. Experts say that the opening ducts of these glands might have been seen earlier but have not been noticed as a part of a larger glad structure. These glands can only be detected by advanced PSMA PET/CT imaging scans as salivary glands, said the experts. This organ is beyond the capabilities of ultrasound, CT, and MRI scans.