Oral Granular Cell Tumors Clinical Presentation

Updated: Mar 20, 2018
  • Author: Steven Brett Sloan, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Granular cell tumors are slow-growing lesions (0.5-1 mm per year) that are neither painful nor tender. Congenital epulis apparently is neither painful nor tender. The rate of growth is difficult to determine because of its presence at birth and the need for its removal to allow feeding. No etiologic factors appear to be associated with either lesion. Note the image below.

Clinical photograph of a granular cell tumor on th Clinical photograph of a granular cell tumor on the tongue of a 38-year-old man.

Physical Examination

The head and neck region accounts for approximately 45-65% of all sites for granular cell tumors. Approximately 70% of oral granular cell tumors occur in the tongue. [5, 6] Buccal mucosa accounts for about 10-15% of oral lesions. Approximately 10% of lesions have been reported bilaterally. Multiple tumors are occasionally present. [7, 8, 9] They have been found to occur in the lungs and trachea [10] ; the esophagus [11] ; the cecum [12] ; the colon, appendix, and mesentery [13] ; the perianal area [14] ; and the skin of the breast, scalp, [15] trunk, [16] and extremities. [17]

Congenital epulis occurs more frequently in the maxilla. These lesions generally are less than 2 cm in diameter. Large lesions can interfere with breathing and feeding. [18, 19]