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Resident's Page: Pathology
April 1999

Pathologic Quiz Case 2

Author Affiliations


Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1999;125(4):465-466. doi:

Myxomas are benign connective tissue tumors of mesenchymal origin.1 They were first described in 1871 by Virchow, who noted that the histological appearance resembled the mucinous substrate of the umbilical cord.2 Myxomas can be divided into 2 groups: those derived from the facial skeleton, and those from extraskeletal soft tissues. Most skeletal myxomas involve the mandible and maxilla, while extraskeletal myxomas involve the soft tissues of the extremities.1,3 Soft tissue myxomas are thought to arise from primitive mesenchymal cells or from altered fibroblasts. Lesions arising in the mandible or maxilla are thought to arise from the odontogenic primordial mesenchyme.2 Soft tissue myxomas of the head and neck are uncommon, with fewer than 50 cases reported in the literature.3,4 The palate is the most common site, followed by the parotid gland and the lateral aspect of the neck, but lesions have also been reported in the scalp, subcutaneous facial tissues, lip, oropharynx, floor of the mouth, retropharynx, and larynx.2-6 There is no sex predilection, and myxomas can occur at any age, with a peak incidence noted in the fourth decade of life.