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IntroductionLymphangiomas are benign tumorus of lymphaticvessels, which are localised in the head and neckarea in about 75% of cases [1]. They manifest fre-quently at birth or before two years of age [2].Lymphangiomas are also known to be associatedwith Turner syndrome, Noonan syndrome, tri-somies, cardiac anomalies, and fetal alcohol syn-drome [3].

Lymphangiomas usually involve the head, neck,and oral region [3]. When a lymphangioma occurs inthe oral cavity, there is a marked predilection for theanterior two-thirds of the tongue [3], which oftenresults in macroglossia [4]. Occurrence in other areassuch as cheeks, lips, floor of the mouth, palate andgingiva has also been reported [4-6].

Although lymphangiomas are benign lesions,the involvement of vital structures or aesthetic andfunctional requirements may necessitate the treat-ment of these pathologies. [2]. In the past, variousmethods have been reported for the treatment oflymphangiomas. Procedures such as surgical exci-

sion, radiation therapy, cryotherapy, electrocautery,sclerotherapy, steroid administration, embolisation,ligation, and laser surgery have been proposed totreat lymphangiomas [7-9].

Complete surgical excision remains the mostaccepted treatment option when it is possible [10-12]. Fortunately, most adult lymphangiomas areencapsulated or partially circumscribed and thussurgical removal is facilitated [1]. For recurrent,residual, unresectable or surgically challengingtumours, pre-operative intralesional injections ofsclerosing agents such as 25% dextrose, hypertonicsaline, bleomycin, aethoxysklerol, or OK-432(picibanil) are recommended [11]. However, thechances of recurrence following the surgery may behigh (10% to 38%) and apparently are a result ofinadequate tumour removal [13-16]. Furthermore,lymphangiomas are thought to be very suitable fortreatment by cryosurgery because of their highfluid content and poor blood supply [17].

The following case report is of a patient with apreviously surgically ablated, recurrent lymphan-

The Treatment of Recurrent Lymphangioma in the Oral BuccalMucosa by Cryosurgery: A Case Report

Necdet Dogan1, Can Engin Durmaz2, Metin Sencimen1, Ozlem Ucok3, Kemal MuratOkcu2, Omer Gunhan4, Osman Kose5, Aydin Gulses6

1 Ph.D., D.D.S. Associate Professor, Glhane Military Medical Academy Department of Oral and MaxillofacialSurgery, Ankara, Turkey. 2 Ph.D., D.D.S. Glhane Military Medical Academy Department of Oral and MaxillofacialSurgery, Ankara, Turkey. 3 Associate Professor, Glhane Military Medical Academy Department of Oral Diagnosis andRadiology, Ankara, Turkey. 4 Ph.D., D.D.S. Professor, Glhane Military Medical Academy Department of Pathology,Ankara, Turkey. 5 Ph.D., M.D. Glhane Military Medical Academy Department of Dermatology, Ankara, Turkey.6 D.D.S. Glhane Military Medical Academy Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Ankara, Turkey.

AbstractAims: To present the case of a recurrent lymphangioma in the oral buccal mucosa and briefly discuss the treatmentoptions of the condition. Method: The lesion was surgically ablated; nevertheless, it recurred two months following sur-gery. The recurrent lymphangioma was then treated very successfully with cryosurgery. Result: The patient has nowremained asymptomatic for more than 12 months and experienced no recurrence following the cryosurgery. Conclusion:Cryosurgery is a safe and simple option in the treatment of lymphangiomas.

Key Words: Lymphangioma, Cryosurgery, Case Report

Corresponding author: Aydin Gulses, GATA Dentistry Science Centre, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery,Etlik, Ankara, Turkey; e-mail: aydingulses@gmail.com

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gioma in the buccal mucosa, which was successful-ly treated by cryosurgery.

Case ReportA 35-year-old healthy male presented to the

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery ofGlhane Military Medical Academy, Etlik, Turkey,with a painless swelling of 18 months durationinside his left cheek. He said he thought that thelesion had grown in size over the previous twomonths because he was biting it when he ate. Anintraoral clinical examination revealed the presenceof a bluish-purple coloured lesion, 2.5-3.0 cm indiameter, which was connected to the lower part ofthe left inside cheek (Figure 1). When the lesionwas palpated, it was found that its colour wasunchanged and no ischaemic area appeared.Considering the fibrotic appearance, 18 monthsduration, and traumatic aetiology, the provisionaldiagnosis was that the lesion was benign and, pos-sibly, a traumatic granuloma.

An incisional biopsy was performed and a his-tological examination revealed that the lesion was alymphangioma. Complete surgical ablation of thelesion under local anaesthesia was planned. Localanaesthetic was administered and the encapsulatedlesion was excised with a 5 mm wide band of sur-rounding healthy tissue. The excised tissue meas-ured 3.0 x 2.0 x 2.0 cm in size (Figure 2). The sur-gical wound was left for secondary epithelisation(Figure 3). The excised area healed uneventfully.Histologically, the lesion was stained with haema-toxylin eosin. An area of squamous metaplasia wasfound in the lesion and lymphatic spaces lay in thetissue stroma (Figure 4).

Figure 1. Intra-oral clinical appearance of the patient.

Figure 2. Excised specimens.

Figure 3. Surgical excision of the tumour.

Figure 4. An area of squamous metaplasia wasfound on the lesion and lymphatic spaces lay in

tissue stroma.

Two months following surgical excision, arecurrence was found on the buccal mucosa locatednear to the vermilion border (Figure 5). Instead offurther ablative surgery, it was decided to treat thearea with cryotherapy, which was given initially atmonthly intervals. (Figure 6). Liquid nitrogenapparatus (CRY-AC; Brymill, Ellington, CT, USA)was used to perform the cryotherapy. Each session

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consisted of a 20-second application time. Duringthe first weeks, the clinical outcomes were satisfac-tory. However, a month after the first application, anew recurrence was noted on the same region. Therecall time was reduced from one month to 15 daysand following four cryotherapy applications, nei-ther recurrence nor new pathologic changes wasobserved. At a one-year follow-up, pathology andrecurrence were absent (Figure 7).

Figure 5. Recurrence two months following surgi-cal ablation.

Figure 6. Cryosurgery applied area.

Figure 7. The patient experienced no recurrenceduring the 12 months following cryosurgery.

DiscussionConsidering the complications related to their infil-trating naturesuch as involvement of the adjacentanatomic structures, speech difficulties, respiratorydistress, dysphagia and sleep apnoealymphan-giomas may necessitate treatment [18]. The mainoptions for treatment of lymphangiomas includesurgical ablation, radiation therapy, electrocautery,cryotherapy, sclerotherapy, steroid administration,embolisation, ligation, and laser surgery.

Fortunately, most adult lymphangiomas areencapsulated or partially circumscribed and thussurgical removal is facilitated [10]. Therefore, sur-gical excision is the treatment of choice. However,encapsulation is not always complete and cellularinfiltration of adjacent tissues becomes inevitable.Successful treatment requires the inclusion of a sur-rounding border of normal tissue, provided thatvital structures are not damaged [13,14].Additionally, the results following surgical ablationare often unsatisfactory because of the risks ofcomplications, including damage to surroundingvital structures, nerves and blood vessels, pro-longed lymphatic drainage from the wound, woundinfections, and unacceptable scar formation[19,20]. Nevertheless, the chances of recurrencefollowing the surgery may be high, (10% to 38%)and, as stated previously, are apparently a result ofinadequate tumour removal [14-17].

Because of this, intralesional sclerosing agentinjections such as sodium morrhuate, dextrose,hypertonic saline, tetracycline, doxycyline, aceticacid, ethanol, boiling water and OK-432 have beenproposed [21]. The main advantage of OK-432over other sclerosing agents is the absence of per-ilesional fibrosis, and intralesional injection of OK-432 has been proposed as the first-line treatmentfor lymphangioma for the past decade [22]. As afirst-line therapy, complete regression was noted in43.3% of cases [23]. However, in recent years,sclerotherapy is thought to be not as effective aspreviously reported and surgical excision after pre-treatment with sclerosing agent injections is recom-mended [16,22]. Furthermore, adverse reactionssecondary to sclerotherapy such as fever, localswelling and hyperaemia at the injection site havebeen frequently reported [24].

Cryotherapy, also known as cryosurgery, is acommonly used in-office procedure for the treat-ment of a variety of benign and malignant lesions.The mechanism of destruction in cryotherapy is:

Intracellular ice formation that leads to cellrupture.

An increase in solute concentration withinthe damaged tissue.Inflammation in the damaged tissue.Vascular stasis in the area treated.

Following the application, treated areas re-epithelialise. Adverse effects of cryotherapy areusually minor and short-lived. Lymphangiomas arethought to be very suitable for treatment bycryosurgery because of their high fluid content andpoor blood supply [17]. The treatment takes muchless time compared to surgical excision [25].Additionally, its effectiveness in eliminating pain isextremely important for palliative treatment [17].

ConclusionsIn conclusion, total surgical excision is generallyrecommended for the treatment of lymphangiomas[26-28]. Therefore, in the current case, i