Lingual thyroid

Case contributed by James Harvey


History of snoring. Parents noticed a mass in the child's throat.

Patient Data

Age: 5 years
Gender: Female

There is a dumbbell-shaped, homogeneously enhancing mass at the base of the tongue.

The thyroid is not identified at its usual location.


Two rounded, avascular heterogeneous masses correlate with the masses seen on CT.

No thyroid tissue is seen within the thyroid bed.

Case Discussion

A lingual thyroid is the most common location for ectopic thyroid tissue (90% of cases). During development, thyroid tissue migrates caudially within the midline from the foramen cecum.

Ectopic thyroid tissue may also be found in sublingual, prelaryngeal or mediastinal locations.

In children, a lingual thyroid may rarely cause airway compromise.

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