The anatomical basis and rational for the transoral approach during the surgical excision of the sublingual salivary gland for the management of plunging ranula

04 Nov 2021

PURPOSE : The aim of this study was to illustrate and confirm that the complete intraoral excision of the sublingual gland alone, is anatomically the most rational approach, for the management of plunging ranula. MATERIAL AND METHODS : We retrospectively reviewed clinical charts of diagnosed HIV-infected patients presenting with plunging ranula. The intraoral approach was used for the complete excision of the sublingual gland with evacuation of the pseudocystic content only. Neither extra oral approach, nor ranula dissection / drainage was performed. The surgical procedure was performed using local anesthesia. Pre- and postoperative MRI-scan investigations were recorded. Histological reports were documented to confirm the diagnosis of oral mucocele. Patients were clinically monitored. RESULTS : We identified 90 adults presenting with oral mucocele, type ranula. Seventy (77%) of them were diagnosed with HIV infection. Plunging ranula was recorded in 35 (50%) patients from the latter group. The study enrolled 11 operated patients whose files contained useable data, including an acceptable follow-up period. The postoperative follow-up period ranged from three to 15 months. The clinical and postoperative MRI-scans of operated patients demonstrated satisfactory results. There were neither postoperative complications nor recurrence of ranula reported. CONCLUSION : The location of the sublingual gland in the floor of the mouth coupled with the physio-pathogenesis of the plunging ranula, makes the transoral complete excision of the offending gland, with the intraoral evacuation of the pseudocyst, anatomically the most rational approach for plunging ranula management. There is no need for cervical approach, ranula dissection and/or postoperative placement of drainage.