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Clinical Problem Solving: Pathology
June 2002

Diagnosis Pathology Quiz Case

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2002;128(6):722. doi:

Nasal glioma is a rare, benign congenital lesion that is seen as an intranasal, extranasal, or combined intranasal and extranasal mass. Multiple mechanisms have been proposed for the pathogenesis of this lesion, including displacement of totipotential neuroectodermal cells that develop into mature neural tissue; brain tissue that protrudes through the early skull base, resulting in an encephalocele that loses its intracranial connection; aberrant fusion of the chondrocranium, resulting in separation of primitive neural tissue from developing brain; or entrapment or migration of glial cells from the olfactory bulb.1 Nasal gliomas are developmental heterotopia of neuroglial tissue rather than true neoplasia and are composed of fully differentiated neuroectodermal tissue. While heterotopic neuroglial tissue is most commonly found in the nose (especially in the nasofrontal location), it may be found in all areas of the head and neck, including the parapharyngeal space, nasopharynx, middle ear, and neck.2 The nasal glioma must be differentiated from the encephalocele, which is defined as a herniation of dysplastic neural structures through a skull base defect.3

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