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Oral mucocele - Oral Mucosal Lesion
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Oral mucocele - Oral Mucosal Lesion

Contributors: Carl Allen DDS, MSD, Belinda Tan MD, PhD, Sook-Bin Woo MS, DMD, MMSc
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


The oral mucocele is caused by rupture, presumably due to minor trauma, of a salivary gland duct with resultant spillage of mucin into the surrounding soft tissues. It is more common in children and young adults but can affect all ages. Patients frequently report the abrupt onset of a non-tender swelling that may evolve after several weeks to a pattern of recurrent rupture followed by swelling of the lesion. There are no systemic symptoms or pertinent medical correlations.

Related topic: Ranula


K11.6 – Mucocele of salivary gland

235017008 – Mucocele of mouth

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

  • Varix (varicosity; venous lake) – This appears blue to purple in color but affects older adults. Most varices develop over a period of months to years, and no rupture occurs.
  • Ranula
  • Hemangioma – This lesion usually develops early in life with little change in size. Most will blanch with diascopy.
  • Benign salivary gland tumors – This presents as a constantly enlarging nodule instead of waxing and waning in size. Such tumors are often rubbery or firm on palpation.
  • Low-grade mucoepidermoid carcinoma – This neoplasm presents as a constantly enlarging, usually firm, mass. While it could develop in the lower lip, the posterior hard palate, soft palate, buccal mucosa and retromolar area are more common locations.

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Last Updated:03/05/2018
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Patient Information for Oral mucocele - Oral Mucosal Lesion
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Oral mucocele - Oral Mucosal Lesion
A medical illustration showing key findings of Oral mucocele : Buccal mucosa, Mucosal lip, Oral cyst
Clinical image of Oral mucocele - imageId=2177024. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'A smooth gray-white papule on the lower labial mucosa.'
A smooth gray-white papule on the lower labial mucosa.
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