Epignathus is a term given to a very rare form of teratoid tumour that arises from the oropharyngeal region.
There may be a slight female predilection ref. The estimated incidence is ~ 1 in 35,000 to 200,000 births.
The tumour classically presents in utero or in the neonatal period. In extreme rare occasions, it may present in young children 9.
It is often classified under the broader umbrella of cervical teratomas. The tumours are not often consistent in origin, number, and differentiation of tissues. They usually have components from all three germ layers and can contain fat, cartilage and bone.
The tumour typically arises from the palato-pharyngeal region around the basisphenoid (Rathke's pouch) and with progressive growth fills the buccal cavity and finally protrudes out of the mouth.
- polyhydramnios: when there is associated swallowing impairment
- mid line facial dafects
Usually seen as a complex mass protruding from the fetal oral cavity (often with mixed echogenecity 11). Accompanying polyhydramnios may be present when there is swallowing impairment.
Useful for better delineation of anatomy.
Treatment and prognosis
The prognosis is generally poor (often as a result of its location) and part of the high mortality rate is caused by severe airway obstruction in the neonatal period. The tumour may also demonstrate rapid growth. An EXIT procedure can be offered in selected cases 6.
- development of fetal hydrops: often due to tumour shunting/using a lot of blood flow
- the tumour can spread superiorly destroying the skull base and brain tissue 12
- this in turn can give a range complications such as fetal hydrocephalus
- neonatal death usually occurs due from airway obstruction and consequent asphyxia after birth
In general consider other tumours from the oropharyngeal region:
For small lesions on a sagittal ultrasound scan also consider:
- prominent philtrum/premaxillary tissue from a midline facial defect (can also be an association)
- 1. Freitas Rda S, Alonso N, Azzolini Tde F et-al. Epignathus: two cases. Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2008;46 (4): 317-9. doi:10.1016/j.bjoms.2007.06.012 - Pubmed citation
- 2. Tsitouridis I, Sidiropoulos D, Michaelides M. Sonographic evaluation of epignathus. Hippokratia. 2009;13 (1): 55-7. - Free text at pubmed - Pubmed citation
- 3. Oliveira-filho AG, Carvalho MH, Bustorff-silva JM et-al. Epignathus: report of a case with successful outcome. J. Pediatr. Surg. 1998;33 (3): 520-1. J. Pediatr. Surg. (link) - Pubmed citation
- 4. Kumar B, Sharma SB. Neonatal oral tumors: congenital epulis and epignathus. J. Pediatr. Surg. 2008;43 (9): e9-11. doi:10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2008.03.055 - Pubmed citation
- 5. Antiñolo G, De agustín JC, Losada A et-al. Diagnosis and management of a large oropharyngeal teratoma (epignathus) in a twin pregnancy. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2009;104 (2): 143-4. doi:10.1016/j.ijgo.2008.09.021 - Pubmed citation
- 6. Izadi K, Smith M, Askari M et-al. A patient with an epignathus: management of a large oropharyngeal teratoma in a newborn. J Craniofac Surg. 2003;14 (4): 468-72. J Craniofac Surg (link) - Pubmed citation
- 7. Clement K, Chamberlain P, Boyd P et-al. Prenatal diagnosis of an epignathus: a case report and review of the literature. Ultrasound Obstet Gynecol. 2001;18 (2): 178-81. doi:10.1046/j.1469-0705.2001.00456.x - Pubmed citation
- 8. Papageorgiou C, Papathanasiou K, Panidis D et-al. Prenatal diagnosis of epignathus in the first half of pregnancy: a case report and review of the literature. Clin Exp Obstet Gynecol. 2000;27 (1): 67-8. - Pubmed citation
- 9. Jund R, Leunig A, Rohrbach H et-al. Nasopharyngeal epignathus causing nasal airway blocking in a 4-year old child. Rhinology. 2001;39 (2): 112-4. - Pubmed citation
- 10. Pavlin JE, O'gorman A, Williams HB et-al. Epignathus: a report of two cases. Ann Plast Surg. 1984;13 (5): 452-6. - Pubmed citation
- 11. Merz E, Bahlmann F. Ultrasound in obstetrics and gynecology. Thieme Medical Publishers. (2005) ISBN:1588901475. Read it at Google Books - Find it at Amazon
- 12. Tortori-Donati P, Rossi A. Pediatric neuroradiology. Springer Verlag. (2005) ISBN:3540410775. Read it at Google Books - Find it at Amazon
- 13. Meizner I, Shalev J, Mashiach R et-al. Prenatal ultrasonographic diagnosis of congenital oral granular cell myoblastoma. J Ultrasound Med. 2000;19 (5): 337-9. J Ultrasound Med (citation) - Pubmed citation