Oral cavity & oropharynx

Salivary gland tumors & processes

Salivary duct cyst

Editor-in-Chief: Debra L. Zynger, M.D.
Nathan Lee, D.M.D.
Tony Ng, M.D., Ph.D.

Last author update: 22 October 2019
Last staff update: 19 August 2022

Copyright: 2002-2023, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

PubMed Search: Duct cyst salivary

Nathan Lee, D.M.D.
Tony Ng, M.D., Ph.D.
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Cite this page: Lee N, Ng T. Salivary duct cyst. PathologyOutlines.com website. https://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/oralcavitysalivaryductcyst.html. Accessed September 30th, 2023.
Definition / general
  • Reactive lesion to salivary gland duct obstruction and buildup of trapped mucin within
Essential features
  • Mucus trapped within lumen secondary to salivary gland duct obstruction
  • Severe obstruction can lead to squamous or oncocytic metaplasia of duct epithelial bilayer
  • Found on oral mucosal sites with minor salivary glands or parotid gland
  • May become secondarily infected around sialolith, which acts as a nidus
  • Salivary retention cyst
  • Mucus retention cyst
  • Mucus duct cyst
  • Sialocyst
  • Reactive oncocytoid cyst (if epithelial lining has oncocytic metaplasia)
  • Not to be confused with mucocele / mucus extravasation phenomenon / ranula / plunging rannula / mucus escape reaction
ICD coding
  • ICD-10: K11.8 - other diseases of salivary glands
Clinical features
  • Based on patient reported history and clinical examination, definitive diagnosis made by histopathologic evaluation under light microscopy
Radiology images

Images hosted on other servers:

Nonhomogenous parotid lesion

Prognostic factors
  • Benign with good prognosis
Case reports
Clinical images

Images hosted on other servers:

Labial mucosal bluish nodule

Parotid salivary gland swelling

Smooth firm labial nodule

Gross description
  • Nodular mass with soft texture
Gross images

Images hosted on other servers:

Smooth firm labial nodule

Microscopic (histologic) description
Microscopic (histologic) images

Contributed by Vancouver General Hospital

True cyst removed intact

Squamous metaplasia, ruptured cyst

Negative stains
Sample pathology report
  • Right upper labial mucosa, exision:
    • Salivary duct cyst (mucus retention cyst)
    • Minor salivary gland parenchyma showing chronic sialoadenitis
Differential diagnosis
Board review style question #1

A 66 year old female presented with a firm, painless, localized swelling with pustular discharge at the upper labial mucosa. The biopsy is shown above. Which immunohistochemical finding would one expect?

  1. CD68 positive
  2. Cytokeratin positive
  3. PAX8 positive
  4. S100 positive
  5. SMA positive
Board review style answer #1
B. Cytokeratin positive

Comment Here

Reference: Salivary duct cyst
Board review style question #2
    Among the choices below, what is the most common site for a salivary duct cyst?

  1. Dorsal tongue
  2. Gingiva
  3. Intrabony
  4. Maxillary sinus
  5. Parotid gland
Board review style answer #2
E. Parotid gland

Comment Here

Reference: Salivary duct cyst
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