The literature contains but few reports of cysts and cystic tumors of the tongue, regardless of type. One would expect these lesions to be encountered more frequently when the numerous glands and the complex embryologic development of this organ are considered.
Cyst formation may result from incomplete obliteration of the lingual portion of the thyroglossal duct. This structure is present in embryos 4 weeks of age (2.5 mm. stage) and normally atrophies during the sixth week of fetal life.1 Cystic tumors of the tongue are usually situated in the midline beneath the foramen caecum. They are lined by stratified squamous epithelium or by ciliated epithelium.2
Mucous or retention cysts result when mucous glands at the base of the tongue become obstructed, with subsequent accumulation of secretion. They have been described most often in infants and may become large enough to produce stridor and asphyxia. They are located between