Mucous Retention Cyst

When you have a mucous retention cyst, it can be quite terrifying. While they are typically benign, that does not mean that they do not cause problems. These types of cysts can end up causing a blockage or resulting in pain. Often, a mucous retention cyst will develop in the upper respiratory tract. Over time, it can cause a strain on your vocal chords, chronic sinusitis or seasonal allergies. Read on to gain a better understanding of these cysts and the type of treatment options that are available.

What Is a Mucous Retention Cyst?

A mucous retention cysts are smaller cysts that can develop when one of your ducts in the upper respiratory tract is blocked. Often, these cysts will develop around the salivary glands and sinus areas. Once a mucous retention cyst has developed, it can affect your throat, lips and vocal chords.

Once your mucus ducts are blocked, then the glands that produce the mucous swell in size. Ultimately, this process can end up causing a cyst. Many of these cysts will not cause any type of physical symptom. If you were given a CT scan though, you could see the mucous retention cyst on your neck, head or sinuses.

What Are the Kinds of Mucous Retention Cysts?

A mucous retention cyst can develop in any area that is involved in the creation of mucous in the body. Depending on the location, you may experience a variety of different symptoms or no symptoms at all. Some of the most common types of mucous retention cysts include the following:

1. Salivary Gland

When your salivary ducts are damaged or undergo trauma, it can cause a cyst to develop. Once a gland is ruptured, the mucous begins to collect and leak out. As this fluid starts to build up, it can lead to the formation of the cyst. If you have a cyst in or near the salivary gland, then you may find it difficult to chew, swallow or talk. In some cases, a small cyst will not cause any symptoms.

If you have discovered that you have a salivary gland cyst, then you can get treatment. Often, the treatment involves a very simple surgical procedure. A small incision is made to allow the gland to drain. Afterwards, it is stitched up so that it can heal completely. In other cases, the salivary gland is removed completely to get rid of the cyst.

2. Maxillary Mucous Retention Cyst

Some people suffer from frequent sinus infections. While this may not cause any other problems, it can end up leading to a cyst in the maxillary sinus area. If someone does develop this cyst, it can be diagnosed by giving the sinuses a scan or an x-ray. If you have a maxillary sinus cyst, you may not notice any symptoms. They can make it even more likely that you develop sinus infections though, so watch out for frequent sinus infection attacks. You could also suffer from headaches, dizziness and facial pain.

If a maxillary mucous retention cyst is the problem, then your doctor may not recommend any treatment unless it causes a problem. When the cyst is causing frequent sinus infections and problems, then your doctor may choose to do a nasal surgery or a surgery around your sinuses to remove the cyst. Afterward, the area involved in the surgery is reconstructed.

3. Lips

While it is less common, it is possible to develop a mucous retention cyst on the inside of your lip. You may be more likely to notice that this cyst occurs because of where it is located. When you have a mucous retention cyst on your lips, it may look like a small bump filled with a clear liquid. It will often be completely painless, and it is completely benign. Sometimes, the harmless bump will become permanent. They are also more likely to happen if you have lip piercings. Biting or sucking on your lips frequently can make this type of cyst more likely to form.

When someone has a lip cyst, they will most likely develop noticeable bumps. The inner surface of the lip is where this cyst is most likely to occur, and it may appear to be discolored. Sometimes, it can look blue in color because of the discolored membrane around it. Since this type of cyst is harmless, it is unlikely to need any type of treatment.

4. Vocal Cord

When the mucus glands near the vocal cord are blocked, they can end up causing a mucous retention cyst to be created along the vocal folds. Unfortunately, these glands are extremely important for the lubrication of the vocal chords. They can cause your voice to sound hoarse, or you may even lose your voice. You may also aspirate different types of fluids. Keep in mind that these cysts are not caused by you overusing your vocal chords—they are just caused by a blockage.

When you go to your doctor, they may check to see if the vocal fold is bulging on one side or if there is a yellow-colored lesion. If your cyst is causing problems, then your doctor may recommend a surgery to remove the cyst. A small incision is made at the location of the cyst on the vocal fold, and the cyst is removed. Individuals who have problems singing or speaking because of their cyst will generally notice a major improvement once their vocal fold has healed completely from the surgery.

5. Throat

Another location for a mucous retention cyst is in the throat. Your post-nasal drip can go down the back of your throat. The glands are located in the back of your throat and in your tonsils, so both spots could develop a cyst. If you do have a mucous retention cyst in your throat or tonsils, you may feel like you have a sore throat. You may have a headache or feel like you constantly need to clear your throat.

This condition can be treated by cutting the cyst slightly so that it starts to drain out. A few stitches are then done to help speed up the healing process. If you have a cyst on your tonsils and have repeated throat infections because of it, it may be treated by removing your tonsils entirely.


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