Lymphangioma of the tongue. A review of pathogenesis, treatment and the use of surface laser photocoagulation

J Laryngol Otol. 1991 Nov;105(11):924-9. doi: 10.1017/s0022215100117839.


Lymphangiomas of the tongue are rare tumours. Several reports of this interesting condition have appeared in the literature with varying modalities of treatment being employed to control tongue size. We present here our experience with seven children who have lymphangiomas of the head and neck with tongue involvement seen over the past eight years. If the tongue is large with protrusion outside the lip margins, we advocate early tongue reduction so as to promote proper speech and deglutition, reduce orthodontic problems and achieve good cosmesis. However, the natural history of these tumours is one of recurrent tongue enlargement secondary to infection and trauma, irrespective of surgical reduction. We describe our technique of surface CO2 laser photocoagulation which has been successfully employed in controlling tongue size and removing superficial lymphangioma in all our patients. We propose therefore that this should be the mainstay of follow-up therapy in lingual lymphangiomas.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Laser Therapy / methods
  • Lymphangioma / pathology*
  • Lymphangioma / surgery
  • Male
  • Tongue / pathology*
  • Tongue / surgery
  • Tongue Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Tongue Neoplasms / surgery