European Radiology

, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 1442–1449 | Cite as

Plunging ranulas: high-resolution ultrasound for diagnosis and surgical management

  • Prabha JainEmail author
  • Ravi Jain
  • Randall P. Morton
  • Zahoor Ahmad
Head and Neck



We see a high incidence of plunging ranulas, particularly in Maori and Polynesian populations. We have investigated the usefulness of ultrasound in the diagnosis and management of plunging ranulas and present our findings.


Thirty-three new cases were examined over 4 years (June 2004 to October 2008).


High-resolution ultrasound was very successful in determining the extent of the plunging ranula, confirming the cystic nature of the lesion, assessing the status of the mylohyoid muscle (a defect demonstrated in 100% of our cases) and evaluating the sublingual gland for rupture or herniation. Correlation with surgical findings was available for 30 cases. There was excellent ultrasonographic and surgical correlation, particularly with respect to submandibular space cystic collection (29 of 30 cases, 96.7%) and mylohyoid defects (27 of 30 cases, 90%).


With the considerations of cost, accessibility and the fact that many of our patients are young (median of 20 years), ultrasound is recommended as the preferred examination for plunging ranula.


Plunging ranulas Head and neck imaging Ultrasound Cystic head Neck lesions Submandibular space leasions 


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Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Prabha Jain
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ravi Jain
    • 2
  • Randall P. Morton
    • 3
  • Zahoor Ahmad
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyMiddlemore Hospital, Counties ManakauOtahuhuNew Zealand
  2. 2.Department of Plastic SurgeryWaikato HospitalHamiltonNew Zealand
  3. 3.Department of ENT SurgeryMiddlemore Hospital, Counties ManakauOtahuhuNew Zealand

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