Malignant Lesions of the Masticator Space

Part of the Medical Radiology book series (MEDRAD)


The masticator space is a deep facial space containing the mandibular ramus and the muscles of mastication. The third branch of the trigeminal nerve is also part of the masticator space. Malignancies arising of the masticator space are mostly of mesenchymal origin, such as osteosarcomas, rhabdomysarcomas or angiosarcomas, but also Non-Hodgkin lymphomas are encountered. Beside these primary malignancies, secondary malignancies may involve the masticator space. Malignancies from the surrounding tissues can invade the masticator space, and occasionally a metastasis may occur in this space. The malignant masticator space lesions and their imaging characteristics are described in this chapter, as well as the differential diagnosis with benign entities.


Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma Panoramic Radiograph Periosteal Reaction Masticator Muscle Mandibular Ramus 


  1. Aspestrand F, Boysen M (1992) CT and MR imaging of primary tumors of the masticator space. Acta Radiol 33(6):518–522PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bisdas S, Chambron Pinho N, Smolarz A, Sader R, Vogl TJ, Mack MG (2008) Bisphosphonate-induced osteonecrosis of the jaws: CT and MRI spectrum of findings in 32 patients. Clin Radiol 63(1):71–77PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chemello PD, Nelson CL, Tomich CE, Sadove AM (1988) Embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma arising in the masseter muscle as a second malignant neoplasm. J Oral Maxillofac Surg 46(10):899–905PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chidzonga MM, Mahomva L (2007) Sarcomas of the oral and maxillofacial region: a review of 88 cases in Zimbabwe. Br J Oral Maxillofac Surg 45(4):317–318PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chong VF, Fan YF (1996) Pictorial review: radiology of the masticator space. Clin Radiol 51(7):457–465PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Daniels RL, Haller JR, Harnsberger HR (1996) Hemangiopericytoma of the masticator space. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol 105(2):162–165PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Dorman M, Pierse D (2002) Ectopic salivary gland tissue in the anterior mandible: a case report. Br Dent J 193(10):571–572PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. dos Santos DT, Cavalcanti MG (2002) Osteosarcoma of the temporomandibular joint: report of 2 cases. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod 94(5):641–647PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Galli F, Flor N, Villa C, Franceschelli G, Pompili G, Felisati G, Biglioli F, Cornalba GP (2010) The masticator space value of computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging in localisation and characterisation of lesions. Acta Otorhinolaryngol Ital 30(2):94–99PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Glaser C, Lang S, Pruckmayer M, Millesi W, Rasse M, Marosi C, Leitha T (1997) Clinical manifestations and diagnostic approach to metastatic cancer of the mandible. Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg 26(5):365–368PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gosau M, Draenert FG, Winter WA, Mueller-Hoecker J, Driemel O (2008) Fibrosarcoma of the childhood mandible. Head Face Med 16(4):21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hyare H, Wisco JJ, Alusi G, Cohen M, Nabili V, Abemayor E, Kirsch CF (2010) The anatomy of the nasopharyngeal carcinoma spread through the pharyngobasilar fascia to the trigeminal mandibular nerve on 1.5T MRI. Surg Radiol Anat 32(10):937–944PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kaneda T, Minami M, Kurabayashi T (2003) Benign odontogenic tumors of the mandible and maxilla. Neuroimaging Clin N Am 13(3):495–507PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kim GT, Lee JK, Choi BJ, Kim J, Han SH, Kwon YD (2010) Malignant transformation of monostotic fibrous dysplasia in the mandible. J Craniofac Surg 21(2):601–603PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Laine FJ, Braun IF, Jensen ME, Nadel L, Som PM (1990) Perineural tumor extension through the foramen ovale: evaluation with MR imaging. Radiology 174(1):65–71PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Lodwick GS, Wilson AJ, Farrel C, Virtama P, Dittrich F (1980) Determination of growth rates of focal lesions of bone from radiographs. Radiology 134(3):577–583PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Loehn B, Walvekar RR, Harton A, Nuss D (2009) Mandibular metastasis from a skull base chordoma: report of a case with review of literature. Skull Base 19(5):363–368PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Maroldi R, Farina D, Borghesi A, Marconi A, Gatti E (2008) Perineural tumor spread. Neuroimaging Clin N Am 18(2):413–429PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Mendenhall WM, Fernandes R, Werning JW, Vaysberg M, Malyapa RS, Mendenhall NP (2010) Head and neck osteosarcoma. Am J Otolaryngol [Epub ahead of print: 18 Nov] Google Scholar
  20. Nishikawa H, Nakashiro K, Sumida T, Sugita A, Hamakawa H (2010) Mandibular osteoblastic metastasis of poorly differentiated carcinoma of the thyroid gland. Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg 39(3):301–304PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Palacios E, Valvassori G (2000) Masticator space tumor, malignant schwannoma. Ear Nose Throat J 79(8):550PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Schuknecht B, Valavanis A (2003) Osteomyelitis of the mandible. Neuroimaging Clin N Am 13(3):605–618PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Studer G, Grätz KW, Glanzmann C (2004) Osteoradionecrosis of the mandible in patients treated with different fractionations. Strahlenther Onkol 180:233–240PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Toranzo-Fernandez JM, Noyola-Frias MA, Sanchez-Hermosillo E, Gonzalez-Mendoza E (2000) Rhabdomyosarcoma in children: report of two cases. J Clin Pediatr Dent 25(1):87–90PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Zorzan G, Tullio A, Bertolini F, Sesenna E (2001) Osteosarcoma of the mandibular condyle: case report. J Oral Maxillofac Surg 59(5):574–577PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg  2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Neuroradiology–Musculoskeletal-Radiology, Department of RadiologyUniversity Hospital ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyHUCH, Meilahti HospitalHelsinkiFinland

Personalised recommendations