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J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2016 Jun;74(6):1175-9. doi: 10.1016/j.joms.2015.11.025. Epub 2015 Nov 24.

Superficial Mucocele of the Ventral Tongue: Presentation of a Rare Case and Literature Review.

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Clinical Professor, Department of Oncology and Diagnostic Sciences, University of Maryland Dental School, Baltimore, MD. Electronic address:
Senior Attending, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Medstar Washington Hospital Center, Washington, DC.
Associate Professor, Department of Oncology and Diagnostic Sciences, University of Maryland Dental School, Baltimore; Member, Molecular and Structural Biology Branch, The Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center, Baltimore, MD.


The superficial mucocele is a rare variant of the common mucocele and noted microscopically by subepithelial pools of mucin. To increase the understanding of oral superficial mucoceles, a database was created from the demographics of case reports and case series from a PubMed search. At least 200 patients with superficial mucoceles have been described in the English-language literature, 82 of whom had biopsy-proven lesions; additional clinical information was available for 39 of these 82 patients. Compiled data suggest superficial mucoceles offered phenotypic distinctions from the common mucocele because they were more apt to occur in middle-aged women, often on the soft palate and buccal mucosa. Affected patients frequently had multiple lesions that were smaller than 3 mm and nearly 50% of patients developed recurrence. This report also describes the first histopathologically confirmed case of a superficial mucocele arising on the ventral tongue in a 22-year-old man. It is speculated that the glossal lesion might have developed from long-term impingement from exposed metal barbs from an orthodontic splint. Persistent lesions or atypical presentations underscore the need for histopathologic examination.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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