Mandible & maxilla

Non-odontogenic cysts

Globulomaxillary cyst

Last author update: 1 July 2015
Last staff update: 8 July 2020

Copyright: 2004-2019,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Globulomaxillary cyst [title]

Anthony Martinez, M.D.
Kelly Magliocca, D.D.S., M.P.H.
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Cite this page: Martinez A. Globulomaxillary cyst. website. Accessed March 22nd, 2023.
Definition / general
  • No longer considered a distinct, classifiable entity
  • Previously described as a fissural cyst forming at the junction of the globular process and the maxillary process
  • Most, if not all, cysts in the globulomaxillary region may be classifiable as an inflammatory type cyst or another developmental odontogenic cyst / tumor (see differential diagnosis)
  • Also called odontogenic cyst in a globulomaxillary location
  • Cyst that occurs between the maxillary lateral incisor and canine teeth
  • No longer considered a distinct, classifiable entity:
  • Originally thought to arise from epithelium entrapped during fusion of the globular portion of the medial nasal process with the maxillary process
    • The globular portion of the medial nasal process is primarily united with the maxillary process and a fusion does not occur
    • Therefore, epithelial entrapment should not occur during embryologic development of this area
Radiology description
  • On radiograph it will appear as inverted pear shaped radiolucency
  • The clinician should first consider an odontogenic origin for the lesion
Diagrams / tables

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Fissural cysts

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Teeth and hard palate

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Given that globulomaxillary cyst is terminology that is no longer utilized, a microscopic description is not provided
  • See differential diagnosis section for most commonly identified classifiable entities found in a globulomaxillary location
Differential diagnosis
  • Keratocystic odontogenic tumor
    • Parakeratin lined cyst-like lesion / tumor within bone
    • Mandible most commonly involved (65 - 85% of KCOT)
    • Uniform epithelial lining 6 - 8 cells thick lacking rete ridges
    • Luminal surface has wavy ("corrugated") parakeratotic epithelial cells
  • Lateral periodontal cyst
    • Nonkeratinizing, developmental odontogenic cyst which occurs along the lateral tooth root surface within bone
    • Most common adjacent to roots of cuspid or bicuspid teeth
    • Nonkeratinized epithelial lining of cuboidal to stratified squamous cells
    • Focal nodular areas of epithelial thickening that may have a whorled, swirling architecture and appear in continuity with the epithelial lining
    • These mural epithelial plaques extend into the fibrous connective cyst wall or may protrude into cyst lumen
  • Periapical (radicular) cyst
    • Most common inflammatory odontogenic cyst
    • Derived from rests of Malassez
    • Lined by stratified squamous epithelium of variable thickness, often edematous
      • May have scattered ciliated cells, particularly if inflammatory process erodes bone of maxilla and process perforates to sinonasal cavity
    • A radicular cyst is associated with a partially necrotic or necrotic tooth and involves a portion of the root, usually with loss of continuity of the radiographic lamina dura
Additional references
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