Mucoepidermoid carcinoma mimicking a mucocele (ranula) in the floor of the mouth

Saulo L. Sousa Melo, Emily Lanzel, Nitin A. Pagedar, Daniah Alhazmi, Laila Dahmoush, Bruno A. Policeni, Marcia S. Campos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Mucoepidermoid carcinoma (MEC) is the most common salivary gland malignancy. The submandibular gland is rarely involved, about less than 10% of all other major salivary glands. We report a case of a 49-year-old female who presented with a mass on the left side of the floor of the mouth. She was complaining of neck pain for the last 2-3 days and had noticed the mass growing in size and becoming tender to palpation. There was no exacerbation of pain during eating, drinking, or opening of mouth. A multidetector CT scan was made. The radiographic examination revealed a mostly well-defined hypodense area suggestive of mucocele (ranula), which was thought to be corroborated by the clinical findings. The treatment of choice was the complete excision of the mucocele and the left submandibular salivary gland. The histopathological examination surprisingly revealed a low-grade MEC. No further treatment was recommended; however, a follow up was scheduled in 4 months. This atypical location of MEC in the floor of the mouth simulated the clinical and radiographic features of a mucocele. This case highlights the value and importance of using all the available diagnostic tools and modalities for optimal patient management, as the histopathological analysis played an important role to confirm the diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20170331
JournalDentomaxillofacial Radiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Carcinoma
  • Computed tomography
  • Mucocele
  • Mucoepidermoid
  • Ranula
  • Salivary gland neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Dentistry(all)


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