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OTORINOLARINGOLOGIA

A Journal on Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery,
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Otorinolaringologia 1998 September;48(3):119-25

language: Italian

Lingual ectopic thyroid gland. A multidisciplinary approach

Grillo C.**, Alberti M.*, Giardina V.*, Laudani A.***, Randazzo A.°, Verzi P.****, La Mantia I.*, Tumino S.**

Università degli Studi - Catania
* Istituto di Otorinolaringoiatria
** Cattedra di Otorinolaringoiatria
*** Istituto di Medicina Interna e Specialità Internistiche
**** Cattedra di Ortognatodonzia
° Scuola di Specializzazione in Anestesia e Rianimazione


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Background. A lingual ectopic thyroid gland may explain the evidence of a tongue mass in the region of the foramen cecum. In such patients the median thyroid anlage fails to descend and ectopic thyroid is often the only functioning thyroid tissue. The diagnosis may be late and symptoms depend on the size of the mass and on the degree of impairment of the thyroid function. Our goal is to show how complex is the morphological and functional study of the patient affected by ectopic thyroid gland and the need of a multidisciplinary approach for the appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.
Methods. Retrospective study on seven patients affected by lingual ectopic thyroid, who have been observed at the Otorhinolaryngoiatric Clinic and the Internal Medicine Institute of the University of Catania. Diagnostic evaluation has required morphological studies (fibroscopy, thyroid scan, sonography and, eventually, CT and/or MRI) and functional studies (free thyroid hormones and thyrotropin assay and, eventually, Thyrotyropin-Releasing Hormone test). Only one patient underwent surgery because of the size of the lingual mass. The other patients had medical treatment.
Results. All patients were euthyroid under L-thyroxine therapy. None had signs of residual local compression after treatment.
Conclusions. The complex morphological and functional study of patients affected by ectopic thyroid gland requires a multidisciplinary approach to obtain the appropriate therapy.

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