March 06, 2019

What is That Bump Behind the Tongue?

Typically in young children, I often have worried parents ask me what that bump is behind the tongue. This bump kind of looks like the picture shown here.

The good news is that it is NORMAL and is called the epiglottis. An epiglottis is the "throat flap" the helps prevent food and liquids from going down the wrong way. Although occasionally the epiglottis can even be seen in adults looking in the mouth, this anatomic structure is typically most easily seen in cooperative children.

As a child grows older, the larynx (or voicebox) which the epiglottis is part of, starts to drop down towards the chest away from the mouth which is why one usually cannot see it in adults.

So now you know.... and don't worry about it!

BUT... if there is a bump on the epiglottis itself, it should be checked out further by a healthcare professional.

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

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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