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Mucoceles

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What are mucoceles
Mucoceles are small cysts inside the mouth, which commonly occur in the inner surface of the lower lip but can also occur in other areas of the mouth.

What causes mucoceles?
Mucoceles occur due to interruptions in small salivary glands ducts due to trauma. This can lead to a build up of mucous material in the surrounding connective tissue layers. It is often associated with surrounding inflammation and scar tissue. Together these form a mucocele.

What do mucoceles look like?
Mucoceles look like bluish or white round-shaped, firm lesions within the mouth. If you shine a light on them you can often see through them. Mucoceles most commonly occur on the inner surface of the lip. They can also occur on the bottom floor of the mouth, the inner cheek, over the gums and tongue. Mucoceles are usually painless lesions, but they can become bothersome to individuals.

How are mucoceles diagnosed?
A doctor usually diagnoses mucoceles through history and examination. A skin sample (biopsy) may be recommended to rule out any other similar diseases.

How are mucoceles treated?
Mucoceles are benign and do not require specific treatment. If mucoceles reoccur and become bothersome your doctor may consider:
• Surgical removal
• Intralesional corticosteroid injection
• Cryosurgery (freezing)
• Electrodesiccation

What is the likely outcome of mucoceles?
Mucoceles can remain present for many days to weeks before they spontaneously rupture and resolve on their own. However, recurrence is common.

This information has been written by Dr Subashini Gnanendran and Dr Rachael Anforth

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