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Transoral robotic resection of a lingual thyroid: a novel treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea


A 34-year-old woman with a history of congenital hypothyroidism and 15 years of obstructive sleep apnoea was admitted with a left submandibular swelling secondary to a dental infection. A CT scan of the neck identified an incidental 27 mm tongue base mass and the absence of any cervical thyroid tissue. This mass was not observable on examination of the oropharynx but was seen on fine nasendoscopy while thyroid function tests showed good thyroid stimulating hormone suppression. Her acute dental infection was treated and, following multidisciplinary team discussion, she was diagnosed with an ectopic lingual thyroid. She was offered different management options including no intervention and radio-iodide treatment but opted for transoral robotic resection. The lesion was resected en bloc with clear margins and histology confirmed lingual thyroid tissue. Since the procedure, she has remained free of sleep apnoea with a significantly improved quality of life.

  • otolaryngology / ENT
  • head and neck surgery
  • sleep disorders (respiratory medicine)
  • thyroid disease

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