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Ectopic submandibular thyroid tissue with a coexisting active and normally located thyroid gland: case report and review of literature.

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  • 1University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus, Technical University of Dresden, Germany.


Ectopic thyroid tissue in the submandibular space with the thyroid gland in its normal location is an extremely rare phenomenon. We present a case of a 75-year-old woman who had painless swelling in the left submandibular space and was referred to our hospital with the suspicion of having a malignant tumor originating from the submandibular gland. Histologic examination showed normal follicular thyroid tissue without any sign of malignancy. In general there are 3 explanations for the presence of ectopic thyroid tissue found in the submandibular region: (1) displacement during the course of embryonal development, (2) spread of tissue during surgery on a normally located thyroid gland, and (3) metastasis of a highly differentiated papillary thyroid carcinoma. We reviewed the literature with respect to the embryological background and the clinical management of such cases.

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