Locations Main Campus: Chesterfield, MO 63017   |   Locations
314-434-1500 314-434-1500   |   Contact Us

Multimedia Encyclopedia


 
E-mail Form
Email Results

 
 
Print-Friendly
Bookmarks
bookmarks-menu

Mucous cyst

Mucocele; Mucous retention cyst; Ranula

 

An oral mucous cyst is a painless, thin sac on the inner surface of the mouth. It contains clear fluid.

Causes

 

Mucous cysts most often appear near salivary gland openings (ducts). Common sites and causes of cysts include:

  • Inner surface of the upper or lower lip, inside the cheeks, bottom surface of the tongue. These are called mucoceles. They are often caused by lip biting, lip sucking, or other trauma.
  • Floor of the mouth. These are called ranula. They are caused by blockage of the salivary glands under the tongue.

 

Symptoms

 

Symptoms of mucoceles include:

  • Usually painless, but can be bothersome because you're aware of the bumps in your mouth.
  • Often appears clear, bluish or pink, soft, smooth, round and dome-shaped.
  • Vary in size up to 1 cm in diameter.
  • May break open on their own, but may recur.

Symptoms of ranula include:

  • Usually painless swelling on the floor of the mouth below the tongue.
  • Often appears bluish and dome-shaped.
  • If the cyst is large, chewing, swallowing, talking may be affected.
  • If the cyst grows into the neck muscle, breathing can stop. This is a medical emergency.

 

Exams and Tests

 

Your health care provider can usually diagnose a mucocele or ranula simply by looking at it. Other tests that may be done include:

  • Biopsy
  • Ultrasound
  • CT scan, usually for ranula that has grown into the neck

 

Treatment

 

A mucous cyst often can be left alone. It usually will rupture on its own. If the cyst returns, it may need to be removed.

To remove a mucocele, the provider may perform any of the following:

  • Freezing the cyst (cryotherapy)
  • Laser treatment
  • Surgery to cut out the cyst

A ranula is usually removed using laser or surgery. The best outcome is removing both the cyst and the gland that caused the cyst.

To prevent infection and damage to the tissue, DO NOT try to open the sac yourself. Treatment should only be done by your provider. Oral surgeons and some dentists can remove the sac.

 

Possible Complications

 

Complications may include:

  • Return of the cyst
  • Injury of nearby tissues during removal of a cyst

 

When to Contact a Medical Professional

 

Contact your provider if you:

  • Notice a cyst or mass in your mouth
  • Have difficulty swallowing or talking

These may be a sign of more serious problem, such as mouth cancer.

 

Prevention

 

Avoiding intentionally sucking the cheeks or biting the lips may help prevent some mucoceles.

 

 

References

More CB, Bhavsar K, Varma S, Tailor M. Oral mucocele: a clinical and histopathological study. J Oral Maxillofac Pathol. 2014;18(Suppl 1):S72-S77. PMID: 25364184 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25364184.

Patterson JW. Cysts, sinuses, and pits. In: Patterson JW, ed. Weedon's Skin Pathology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2016:chap 16.

Scheinfield N. Mucoceles. In: Lebwohl MG, Heymann WR, Berth-Jones J, Coulson I, eds. Treatment of Skin Disease: Comprehensive Therapeutic Strategies. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 151.

Woo BM. Sublingual gland excision and ductal surgery. In: Kademani D, Tiwana PS, eds. Atlas of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 86.

 
  • Mouth sores

    Mouth sores - illustration

    Mouth ulcers are caused by many disorders. These include canker sores, leukoplakia, gingivostomatitis, oral cancer, oral lichen planus, oral thrush, and similar disorders.

    Mouth sores

    illustration

    • Mouth sores

      Mouth sores - illustration

      Mouth ulcers are caused by many disorders. These include canker sores, leukoplakia, gingivostomatitis, oral cancer, oral lichen planus, oral thrush, and similar disorders.

      Mouth sores

      illustration

    A Closer Look

     

      Self Care

       

        Tests for Mucous cyst

         

           

          Review Date: 7/13/2016

          Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

          The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
          adam.com

           
           
           

           

           

          A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.



          Content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.