What are Salivary Mucocœles?
Salivary Mucocœles are fluid-filled cysts that occur
anywhere in the mouth where there are minor salivary
glands. They usually come about as a result of a minor
trauma from lip or cheek biting. They are very common.
They are rarely bigger than 1cm across.
Salivary Mucocœles come in 2 types ‑ the most common
being Extravasation Mucocœles (85%) and the less
common Retention Mucocœles (15%).
These usually result from a trauma (such as biting the lip or
cheek or a sports injury) which causes the salivary duct to
rupture. The area becomes inflamed and a mucus-filled
cyst forms. The cyst may rupture, collapse and refill with
fluid several times. The cyst appears as a bluish /
translucent swelling just under the surface of the lining of
More than 70% of Extravasation Mucocœles are found on
the lower lip. They can also occur on the cheek and the
floor of the mouth but are extremely rare in the upper lip.
|Mucocœle present on the left lower lip of a child
|This type of mucocœle affects a wide age range of people
but most patients are under 30 years old.
These usually result from a pooling of mucus formed
because of a blocked or partially blocked salivary duct, or
the salivary duct may simply spontaneously form a cyst.
These are most often found in the floor of the mouth.
These types of mucocœles are usually found in people
over the age of 50.
How are they treated?
Usually they are surgically removed or occasionally,
cryotherapy (freezing) may provide a suitable alternative
where there is a need or wish to avoid surgery.
|Photo of an excised mucocœle, from the lower L lip
|Last Updated 18th August 2010