Drooling (Sialorrhea) Workup

Updated: Mar 23, 2022
  • Author: Neeraj N Mathur, MBBS, MS, DNB, MAMS, FAMS; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Laboratory Studies

See the list below:

  • Salivary flow rate (mL/min) - Increase in weight of dental rolls/time of collection

    • The absorbent dental rolls can be kept directly at the orifices of large salivary glands

  • Drooling Quotient - 40 observations in 10 minutes (every 15 minutes)

    • DQ% = 100 x number of drooling episodes/40

  • Teacher Drooling Scale - 1-5

    • 1= no drooling

    • 3= occasional drooling

    • 5= constantly wet saliva leaking on clothes and furniture


Imaging Studies

See the list below:

  • Lateral neck film: Adenoid hypertrophy can be confirmed if the patient has a history of nasal obstruction. Complete the adenoidectomy prior to further surgical intervention to neutralize the effects of mouth breathing on drooling.

  • Modified barium swallow: Some authors recommend performing this study to help rule out the contraindications to surgical therapy, including esophageal motility disorders, esophageal spasm, and aspiration.

  • Radiosialography: For some authors and for research purposes, these scans using radioisotope are useful for evaluating the secretory function of the salivary gland when assessing the success of surgical therapy.


Other Tests

See the list below:

  • Audiogram: Perform this study on patients being considered for tympanic neurectomy or chorda tympani nerve section, because unilateral hearing impairment is a contraindication (owing to the risk of hearing loss associated with the procedures).

  • Flexible nasopharyngoscopy: This is an alternative method of assessing the amount of adenoid tissue if the patient has history findings suggestive of nasal obstruction.