Mandible & maxilla

Non-odontogenic cysts

Median palatine cyst

Topic Completed: 1 June 2015

Minor changes: 8 July 2020

Copyright: 2004-2019,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Median palatine cyst [title]

Anthony Martinez, M.D.
Kelly Magliocca, D.D.S., M.P.H.
Page views in 2020: 1,122
Page views in 2021 to date: 1,039
Cite this page: Martinez A. Median palatine cyst. website. Accessed October 18th, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Rare, non-odontogenic fissural cyst that does not involve the palatine papilla or incisive canal
  • Also called median palatal cyst
  • Rare, only 21 cases have been reported in the literature (4 after 1992)
  • Although limited numbers, more common in males (4:1)
  • Located in the midline of the hard palate, posterior to incisive fossa
  • Controversial, and the existence of the cyst itself has been questioned
  • Originally thought to arise from remnants of epithelium entrapped during fusion of facial processes during embryogenesis, specifically the lateral palatal shelves
  • More recently, the 1992 WHO wrote "it is now felt that those [cysts] in the maxilla represent a posterior extension of the nasopalatine duct cyst in the case of a median palatine cyst" (WHO: Histological Typing of Odontogenic Tumours, 2nd Edition, 1992)
Clinical features
  • Most common clinical presentation is asymptomatic swelling along midline palate
Radiology description
Case reports
  • Enucleation
Clinical images

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Large median palatal cyst

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Fissural cysts

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Variably described as lined by stratified squamous epithelium or pseudostratified ciliated columnar epithelium (respiratory epithelium)
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Palatine cyst

Differential diagnosis
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