Mucous Cyst: How Long Does It Take To Heal?

What Is A Mucous Cyst?

Mucous Cyst or Mucocele develops in the lip or the mouth in which there is development of a fluid filled cyst. Mucous cyst develops when there is clogging of the mucous in the salivary glands in the mouth. Mucous cysts can develop anywhere in the oral cavity but are generally found in the lower part of the lip. Mucous Cyst is an extremely benign condition and with treatment can be cured but the cyst can become permanent if left untreated.

Mucous Cyst

What Are The Causes Of Mucous Cyst?

The root cause for development of a Mucous Cyst is any injury to the oral cavity like biting the lips which is by far the most common cause. Some of the other causes of injury to the oral cavity can be mouth piercings which is quite a common form of style statement in the modern world. Sometimes, damaged teeth can also result in an injury to the oral cavity. If by accident somebody bites the cheek then it can also cause injury to the oral cavity. If an individual does not take care of the teeth then it may also result in injury to the oral cavity and resultant Mucous Cyst.

What Are The Symptoms Of Mucous Cyst?

Symptoms experienced by an individual with a Mucous Cyst depend on the location of the cyst as to whether it is located just underneath the skin surface or deep within the skin. In majority of cases, these mucus cysts do not cause any pain but if left untreated they may become painful with time.

Some of the symptoms of Mucous Cyst which is located just underneath the skin are:

  • Swelling at the affected area
  • Bluish discoloration at the affected area
  • Tenderness to touch around the mucous cyst area
  • The mucous cyst is quite small in size.

Some of the symptoms for Mucous Cyst located deep within the skin are:

  • Development of a round bump at the site of the mucous cyst
  • Whitish discoloration at the affected site
  • Tenderness at the mucous cyst area.

How Is Mucous Cyst Diagnosed?

In order to diagnose a Mucous Cyst, the physician will begin by taking a detailed history of the patient as to when the lesion was noticed first and the duration of the cyst. The physician will also inquire about any lip or cheek biting episodes that the patient might have experienced. The physician will also inquire whether there is any pain in the area. The physician will then conduct a physical examination of the affected area looking for any tenderness and bluish or white discoloration. In some cases, a confirmatory diagnosis is made only after doing a biopsy of the cyst top rule out if the lesion is cancerous or not. Generally a biopsy is suggested in the following cases:

  • The mucous cyst is larger than 1 cm in diameter
  • The appearance of the mucous cyst is suggestive of it being cancerous in nature.
  • The patient has no history of any injury or trauma to the oral cavity and the cyst has been of an insidious onset.

How Is Mucous Cyst Treated?

The treatment for Mucous Cyst is dependent on how severe and large the cyst is and whether it is painful or not. In some cases there is no treatment required and the mucous cyst resolves on its own within a few days. Treatment usually is not required for mucous cysts that are located just underneath the surface of the skin as they resolve on their own with time but it is advisable not to try and burst the cyst open in order to prevent any type of infection which may then need further treatment and complicate things.

Some of the treatment measures used for treating Mucous Cysts that are not severe are:

Treatment with laser beams which are directed directly at the lesion for removal of it.

Cryotherapy in which the mucous cyst is removed by freezing it with nitrous oxide.

Injection of steroid: A steroid is injected into the cyst for reduction of swelling and inflammation and speeds up the healing process.

In cases where the mucous cyst is really large and severe then the physician may recommend removal of the entire salivary gland to prevent recurrence of the cyst.

How Long Does It Take To Heal Mucous Cyst And Does It Recur?

Normally, Mucous Cyst takes anywhere between as early as a few weeks to as late as a couple of years to resolve completely depending on how severe and large the cyst is. Even if the mucous cyst has completely healed there are chances that the cyst may recur and in order to prevent recurrence the only way is a surgical removal. It is also important to avoid frequent lip biting or cheek biting so as to prevent recurrence of a Mucous Cyst.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 26, 2022

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