Diagnosis and surgical management of nasopalatine duct cysts

Kimberly A. Elliott, Christine B. Franzese, Karen T. Pitman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Objectives/Hypothesis: Nasopalatine duct cysts are the most common cystic lesion of nonodontogenic origin of the maxilla. The purposes of the study were to review the epidemiology and clinical presentation, to describe the radiographic and pathological findings, and to discuss surgical management of this entity. Study Design: Case presentations of two patients with nasopalatine duct cysts at a tertiary care institution with a review of the English medical literature from January 1960 to the present. Methods: A 69-year-old man presented with an asymptomatic swelling of the premaxilla, and a 17-year-old woman presented with a painful swelling of the hard palate. A computed tomography scan, fine-needle aspiration, and preoperative workup were obtained in both cases. Literature was reviewed with respect to epidemiology, etiology, presentation, diagnostic studies, operative management, and recurrence rates. Results: Computed tomography scan demonstrated midline ovoid cystic lesions in both cases. Fine-needle aspiration of both lesions revealed no evidence of malignancy. Surgical treatment consisted of enucleation in the first case and marsupialization in the second case. Both patients did well with no evidence of recurrence. Nasopalatine duct cyst presents in the fourth to sixth decades of life with a male predilection. Recurrence rates range from 0% to 11%. Conclusion: Nasopalatine duct cyst occurs in approximately 1% of the population. Presentation may be asymptomatic or include swelling, pain, and drainage from the hard palate. A well-circumscribed, round, ovoid, or heart-shaped radiolucency is seen on computed tomography. Pathological findings reveal squamous or respiratory cell types, or a combination of these, infiltrated by inflammatory cells. Enucleation is the preferred treatment with low recurrence rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1336-1340
Number of pages5
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Nasopalatine duct cyst
  • enucleation
  • hard palate cyst
  • maxillary cyst
  • nonodontogenic cyst

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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