Clinical Image

Lingual Thyroid

Lokesh Kumar Tiwari* and Sadhana Kumari
Department of Pediatrics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences Patna, India

*Corresponding author: Lokesh Kumar Tiwari, Department of Pediatrics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences Patna, India

Published: 16 Nov, 2017
Cite this article as: Tiwari LK, Kumari S. Lingual Thyroid. Clin Surg. 2017; 2: 1735.

Clinical Image

Lingual thyroid is an ectopic thyroid tissue seen in base of tongue arising due to failure of descends of medial anlage of thyroid gland from base of tongue to its normal position in front of trachea during embryonic development [1]. This is a rare condition with reported incidence rate of 1 in 100,000 and occurrence is seven times higher in female than male [2]. Diagnosis and proper management is of utmost importance as they may be the only functioning thyroid tissue [3] (Figure 1). Seventy percent of patients with ectopic thyroid tissue are hypothyroid [4].
Histological examination reveals normal thyroid parenchyma along with glossal tissue. This may present as dysphagia, dysphonia, bleeding or obstruction in the upper respiratory tract [5]. Diagnosis can be made by Technetium (Tc-99) scintigraphy to detect thyroid tissue.
Surgical removal is indicated in hyperthyroid cases not responding to medical treatment, obstructive symptoms, and complications such as ulceration, bleeding, cystic degeneration, or malignancy [5,6].

Figure 1

Another alt text

Figure 1
Lingual Thyroid.


  1. Léger J, Marinovic D, Garel C, Bonaiti Pellie C, Polak M, Czernichow P. Thyroid developmental anomalies in first degree relatives of children with congenital hypothyroidism. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002;87(2):575-80.
  2. Abdallah-Matta MP, Dubarry PH, Pessey JJ, Caron P. Lingual thyroid and hyperthyroidism: a new case and review of the literature. J Endocrinol Invest. 2002;25:264-7.
  3. Baik SH, Choi JH, Lee HM. Dual ectopic thyroid. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2002;259(2):105-7.
  4. Yoon JS, Won KC, Cho IH, Lee JT, Lee HW. Clinical characteristics of ectopic thyroid in Korea. Thyroid. 2007;17(11):1117-21.
  5. Mussak EN, Kacker A. Surgical and medical management of midline ectopic thyroid. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2007;136(6):870-2.
  6. Shah BC, Ravichand CS, Juluri S, Agarwal A, Pramesh CS, Mistry RC. Ectopic thyroid cancer. Ann Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2007;13(2):122-4.