Pictorial Review

Imaging evaluation of the benign and malignant lesions of the floor of the mouth: Pictorial review

Ashim K. Lahiri, Charles R. Daultrey
South African Journal of Radiology | Vol 27, No 1 | a2677 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajr.v27i1.2677 | © 2023 Ashim K. Lahiri, Charles R. Daultrey | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 March 2023 | Published: 31 August 2023

About the author(s)

Ashim K. Lahiri, Department of Radiology, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, Worcester,, United Kingdom
Charles R. Daultrey, Department of ENT and Head and Neck Surgery, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, Worcester, United Kingdom


The floor of the mouth is an important anatomical region of the oral cavity where primary benign and malignant disease processes can originate or secondary pathologies can extend into adjacent spaces. Knowledge of the anatomy is crucial for accurate localisation of pathology and understanding the spread of disease. The sublingual space is the dominant component of the floor of the mouth, bounded inferiorly by the mylohyoid muscle that separates it from the submandibular space. Imaging is immensely important to characterise and map the extent of disease, considering the fact that the bulk of the disease may be submucosal and not visible on clinical inspection.

Contribution: The floor of the mouth is a complex anatomical region for radiological evaluation. The purpose of this pictorial review is to present an understanding of the relevant anatomy and to demonstrate the role and appropriate application of different imaging modalities. This article highlights the imaging spectrum of a wide range of various benign conditions including normal variants and a variety of malignant lesions at different tumour stages, with an aim to establish the correct diagnosis, avoid misinterpretation and help in treatment planning.


floor of mouth; sublingual space; mylohyoid; computed tomography; CT; MRI


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