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Dental and Oral Health (Adults)

Vein on Tongue?

03/12/2010

Question:

I`ve had a purple bump on my tongue for as long as I can remember; it`s about the size of a dime, and situated towards the back, on the right side of my tongue. It doesn`t hurt, but on rare occasion, it has had some minor bleeding. My mom was told when I was a toddler that it was just a vein that was too close to the surface, but now that I`m older, I`m getting concerned that it has never gone away. I`ve talked to several general care practitioners about it, but none of them know what to do, and in fact, several have told me they`ve never seen anything like it before. I would just like to know if anything needs to be done about it, or if anything CAN be done.

Answer:

You mother is correct - it probably is a lingual venous malformation or hemangioma. In some instances the veins will form a plexus or conglomeration of vessels and appear as a red or bluish lesion on the surface of the tongue.

Treatment of these lesions consists of sclerosing the lesion and removal. Because of the possibility of severe blood loss and complications, removal can be quite complicated and require sophisticated pre-operative imaging to determine the type and extent of the vascular supply, in order to limit operative complications. Therefore, I would suggest that you have this lesion evaluated by an Oral Surgeon or ENT specialist and let them determine if surgery is required.

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Response by:

Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
School of Dental Medicine
Case Western Reserve University