A Rare Case of OFM in an Elderly Patient


A 72-year-old female patient had a spot on her tongue that did not go away for at least half a year. When she went to the doctor, it was diagnosed as a very rare disorder.

The patient visited the clinic to see what the problem with her tongue was. She had a whitish nodule for six months, and it was less than one-tenth of an inch in size. It appeared on the dorsal surface of the tongue. In addition, she was suffering from pain when she spoke and swallowed. However, no changes were seen in the size or colour of the spot.

Oral Focal Mucinosis (OFM)

The patient was suffering from OFM, which is a very rare soft tissue lesion. The characteristics of the lesion include excessive hyaluronic acid production. The fluid is usually found in the eyes and joints of the body. Moreover, it acts as a cushion for other tissues.

In OFM, hyaluronic acid is produced when the connective tissues in the submucosa break down. The fluid buildup causes the lump to form. Moreover, out of all the cases reported, the majority of OFM patients have the spots on either their hard palate or gums. Only seven documented cases out of a hundred were on the tongue.

Dr Rosa E. Gomez-Torres, co-author, said,

No, I have not encountered this before. In fact, when we came across this case, we were unaware of its existence. Subsequently, we conducted a literature search and found some similar cases reported

Moreover, since the disorder does not have any specific features, a histopathological report is required to diagnose it. An excisional biopsy was performed, and the lump did not recur at the 10th month check-up.

What may have caused the disorder?

Trauma on her tongue may have been the cause. However, it is controversial.

Dr Gomez-Torres said,

The factors contributing to or associated with OFM remain poorly understood, mainly due to the limited number of reported cases in the literature (roughly 100 cases)

However, based on the location of the traumatic sites and other molecular factors associated with mucin deposition, we, along with other authors, have speculated that traumatic incidents in the mouth may be related to the development of OFM. Further research is needed to better understand the exact etiology of this condition.

She further added,

The presence of a spontaneous lump in any part of the body, including the mouth, is not normal. If you notice a lump in your mouth, it is advisable to seek consultation with a dermatologist or an odontologist for proper evaluation and diagnosis


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