Background: Ranula is a clinical term used to designate a mucocele that usually occurs in the floor of the mouth. Submandibular gland mucocele is extremely rare, with only 11 cases reported in English literature, nevertheless should be considered in the differential diagnosis of a neck mass or swelling.
Case report: A 42-years-old-man was referred to our consultation due to a fourteen months progressive enlargement mass located in the left submandibular region, without size fluctuations with food ingestion. There was no history of local trauma, surgery or infection. Physical examination revealed a painless, soft, mobile, well-circumscribed superficial mass 5 cm × 3 cm in the left submandibular area, without swelling on mouth’s floor. CT scan showed an elongated mass anterior to the left submandibular gland, hypodense, measuring 7 cm in greater diameter. Fine needle aspiration cytology presented a fluid composed of histiocitos. Surgical exploration revealed a cystic mass closely related to the left submandibular gland. Both were excised. Histology confirmed a non-epithelial lined cyst filled with mucus in the submandibular gland.
Conclusions: Submandibular gland ranula diagnosis is complicated because of the lack of specific clinical diagnostic criteria and the similarity with other neck cystic swellings.
Key words: ranula; mucocele; submandibular gland; anterolateral neck mass