Surgical management of plunging ranulas: a 10-year case series in South East Queensland.

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Plunging ranulas are rare mucous extravasation pseudocysts that arise in the floor of the mouth and pass into the submandibular space of the neck. The aim of this study was to investigate the diagnosis, surgical management and outcomes of patients with a plunging ranula at our institution in South East Queensland over a 10-year period.


A retrospective analysis of adult patients diagnosed with and treated for plunging ranula between 2006 and 2016 at Logan Hospital was conducted. Patient demographics, preoperative investigations, surgical management and post-operative outcomes were collected from medical records.


A total of 18 adult patients were treated for plunging ranula. Of the 18 cases, 17 were treated via transoral excision of the sublingual gland. The mean age at presentation was 28.8 years with a 3:1 female to male predominance. Fifty-six percent of patients were of Polynesian descent. The success rate was 94% with only one patient experiencing recurrence and requiring re-excision of remnant sublingual gland tissue. Three patients (17%) developed complications related to post-operative bleeding. There was a slight predominance for right-sided disease (56%) compared with left and one case of bilateral plunging ranulas in this series.


This study demonstrates that excision of the sublingual gland is an effective and safe treatment for plunging ranula. The majority of plunging ranulas occur in patients aged <30 years with a higher incidence in patients of Polynesian heritage, which is consistent with previous studies suggesting a possible underlying genetic predisposition for this condition.

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