Mucous Retention Cyst Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Learn all about mucous retention cyst symptoms, causes and treatment.

Mucous retention cyst is also known with the names like mucocele and mucous cyst. Mucous retention cyst can occur in many regions of the body like the maxillary sinuses, sphenoid sinuses, lips, vocal cords, tonsils, salivary glands, etc.

The appearance of these mucous retention cysts on very vital parts of the body makes the person suffering from it worry a lot. The majority of times these mucous retention cysts are benign and non-cancerous. But, still, they might be really painful and trouble us a lot.

Mucous retention cysts and mucous extravasation cysts arise in the minor salivary glands as a result of mechanical damage to the gland or its duct. The common sites are on the mucosal aspect of the lower lip particularly in patients with a deep overbite, and in the buccal mucosa posteriorly where an upper wisdom tooth is erupting buccally.

Typically the patient presents with a history of recurrent swelling that develops over days or weeks, ruptures and then recurs after a few weeks. The cysts rarely exceed 1 cm in diameter and are tense, bluish, sessile swellings. The treatment is not to the cyst alone but the underlying minor gland, which must also be excised under local anaesthesia.

Mucous Retention Cyst Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

What is Mucous Retention Cyst?

A mucous retention cyst is a small sac of mucous that forms when a mucus duct becomes blocked due to an irritant. They are typically found in the upper respiratory tract and affect the sinuses, salivary glands, throat, vocal cords, and the lips. A mucous cyst is visible to the naked eye when it is on the lips but may only be discovered with imaging tests when on other body parts.

Mucous Retention Cyst Symptoms

Mucous retention cyst symptoms are usually grouped into bumps with little to no accompanying symptoms. The symptoms are linked once the cyst is classified into subcategories. We’ve listed the symptoms below in accordance with the location of the mucous retention cyst.

  • A mucous retention cyst of the vocal cords presents as a yellow lesion on the fold in a bulging manner. The voice may be weak, disappearing, or hoarse.
  • Obvious signs of a mucous retention cyst at this gland include difficulty chewing, swallowing, and talking.
  • As mentioned, a cyst can appear on the inner lips, and the mucous retention cyst may have a bluish hue.
  • Mucous retention cysts in the throat region may have you constantly clearing your throat. Headaches may also be present.
  • A mucous retention cyst in the maxillary sinus area usually does not show any symptoms. A few cases may see facial pain, headaches, and sinus infections.

Mucous Retention Cyst Causes

Mucous cysts are most commonly caused by trauma to the oral cavity, such as:

  • lip biting (most common cause)
  • cheek biting
  • piercings
  • accidental rupture of a salivary gland
  • adjacent teeth causing chronic damage
  • Poor dental hygiene and a habit of lip or cheek biting due to stress can also put you at higher risk for developing mucous cysts. Some people develop these cysts as a bad reaction to tartar-control toothpaste.
  • Mucous cysts are most common in people ages 10 to 25. However, these cysts can occur in people of all ages.
  • They also happen equally in both females and males.

Mucous Retention Cyst Treatment

Mucous retention cyst treatments are of two types which a doctor or dentist most commonly uses:

  • Removing the gland. The dentist or doctor may use a scalpel or laser to remove the salivary gland. Local anesthesia numbs the pain.
  • Helping a new duct to form. Called marsupialization, this technique helps a new duct form and helps saliva leave the salivary gland.

The dentist or doctor:

  • Disinfects the area
  • Puts a stitch through the mucocele and ties a knot
  • Gently presses out saliva
  • Removes the stitch after about a week

Other types of treatment that may bring down swelling or prevent the need for surgery include steroid injections and medications applied to the surface of the mucocele. Surgical intervention can only remove the mucous retention cyst in the vocal cords. A small incision in the folds is made to separate the cyst from the vocal cords and then deleted. According to the location they are treated as follows;

  • The cyst on the lips cannot resolve on their own. It needs surgery after giving local anesthesia. But before any surgery, it is crucial to avoid further injuries on the cyst.
  • The cyst from mouth can also be removed. But while removing it if the mental nerve is injured then a person can suffer from crawling, numbness and tingling sensation in and around the mouth. To rule out any malignancy or , the excised tissue should be sent to a pathologist.
  • The cyst in the salivary gland can be removed or drained with a small and straightforward incision followed by stitching it. But proper care is necessary to prevent it from affecting the surrounding structures during its removal.
  • Usually, the cyst does not require any treatment, but if there are frequent sinus problems, then nasal surgery may be necessary to remove the cyst and prevent recurrence.
  • The only option to treat the throat cyst is surgery and if the cyst is present on the tonsil, then it has to be removed.
  • Mucous retention cyst in the frontal sinuses produces terrible symptoms so it can only be treated surgically.

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