May 23, 2018

Large Bumps in the Back of the Tongue

At least once a week, a patient comes into the office concerned with large bumps in the very back of the tongue. This finding usually is first noticed during a sore throat which prompted an unusually careful look in the back of the mouth.

The stereotypical appearance of such bumps of concern is shown in this picture.

Fortunately, these bumps are NORMAL... We all have them and I often like to show patients my back-of-tongue-bumps in order to reassure that I too have them... and am not concerned about them.

They are known as circumvallate papillae and are arranged in a "V" shape that dips down behind the curve of the tongue. Usually, only the bumps on the sides are able to be seen through the mouth.

Because they are normal, there's actually nothing more that needs to be done to address them, let alone treat them.

If the bump is in the middle, behind the tongue, check out this picture.

Or, if the bump is hanging down from behind the soft palate, check out these pictures.

Of course, there are other abnormal tongue masses that should not be ignored which you can read more about and see example pictures of here!

Now you know!

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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