Primary salivary adenocarcinoma of the head and neck is rare. In cases where cervical metastases are evident or suspected, neck dissection is likely to play a role in management. However, there is little data in the literature regarding the findings and outcome of neck dissection in these patients. The present study comprised a review of 12 patients with high-grade salivary adenocarcinoma (salivary ductal carcinoma or adenocarcinoma, not otherwise specified (NOS). Eight underwent neck dissection (four modified radical, four selective). Histological examination showed evidence of cervical metastases in five. The prevalence of occult metastases in the N0 neck was 40 per cent. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were not useful in detecting occult neck disease. Five patients had no evidence of disease at the most recent follow up. Neck dissection is indicated in patients with high-grade salivary adenocarcinoma, and may provide information for planning adjuvant treatment.