A plunging ranula is a rare phenomenon that represents mucous extravasation extending through or behind the mylohyoid. The mucous dissects the tissue planes inferiorly and usually manifests as a swelling in the submental or submandibular regions. Some plunging ranulas are believed to result from disruption of excretory ducts that originate from the sublingual gland. The currently accepted definitive treatment of a plunging ranula is resection of the ipsilateral sublingual gland and evacuation of the cyst with removal of the pseudocapsule.
There have been no reported cases of “ascending” ranulas into the parapharyngeal or pterygomaxillary space. The following represents the first known case that involved an extensive ascending and plunging ranula in a pediatric patient, which recurred despite complete excision of the ranula and sublingual gland. IRB approval was not required per institutional policy on retrospective case reports.