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Schwannoma of the tongue: two case reports and review of the literature


The aim of this study was to describe clinicopathologic and radiographic features of two cases of schwannoma involving the oral tongue and to review the literature of this unusual clinical entity. Case reports with review of the pathologic, radiologic and clinical data for two patients with schwannoma of the tongue are reported. Review of the literature of case reports of schwannomas (neurilemmomas) of the tongue from 1955 to 2006 with analysis of the patient’s age, gender, presenting symptom(s), tumor size, and surgical approach was undertaken. The two patients in our series presented with painless swelling of the tongue. Transoral excision was performed and pathologic examination confirmed the diagnosis of schwannoma in both the cases. A total of 126 cases of schwannoma of the tongue have been reported in the English literature over the past 51 years. Schwannomas of the tongue typically present in the third decade of life (33%), display no gender predilection (52.8% female; 47.2% male) and often present as a painless mass (69.6%). Schwannomas are likely to elicit distressing symptoms when they occur in the posterior one-third of the tongue (63.2 vs. 13.5%) or approach 3 cm in greatest dimension (33.0 vs. 18.2 mm). The vast majority of cases have been treated with transoral excision (94.8%). Recurrence after surgical excision has not been reported. Schwannoma of the tongue is a relatively rare tumor of the head and neck. Transoral resection allows for removal of this tumor in a manner that precludes recurrence, avoids causing morbidity of tongue function, and remains the standard approach for the treatment of the vast majority of these tumors.

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