Otolaryngology Book


Geographic Tongue

Aka: Geographic Tongue, Migratory Glossitis, Benign Migratory Glossitis, Glossitis Areata Exfoliativa, Glossitis Areata Migrans, Erythema Migrans of the Dorsal Tongue
  1. Epidemiology
    1. Prevalence: 1-3% in U.S. (common)
    2. More common in those with a Family History of Geographic Tongue
  2. Pathophysiology
    1. Benign condition
    2. No good evidence that is associated with other conditions (e.g. atopy, Diabetes Mellitus, Psoriasis)
    3. Unclear etiology
  3. Symptoms
    1. Asymptomatic in most cases
    2. Tongue Burning or food sensitivity may occur with spicy foods
  4. Signs
    1. Scattered bright red areas (bare patches) on Tongue dorsum
      1. Denuded of papillae, smooth (filiform atrophy)
      2. Map-like pattern on dorsal or lateral Tongue
    2. Surrounded by light yellow or white elevated rings (serpiginous white borders)
    3. Pattern changes within days
  5. Associated Conditions
    1. Fissured Tongue
  6. Management: Symptomatic lesions
    1. No treatment is uniformly effective
    2. Treatments that have been tried
      1. Topical Corticosteroids
      2. Zinc supplementation
      3. Topical Anesthetics
      4. Sucralfate
    3. Tongue sensitivity may respond to Topical Steroid gel or Antihistamine rinse
    4. Consider systemic medications (Corticosteroids, Calcineurin Inhibitors) in severe cases
  7. References
    1. Assimakopoulos (2002) Am J Med 113(9): 751-5 [PubMed]
    2. Randall (2022) Am Fam Physician 105(4): 369-76 [PubMed]

Glossitis, Benign Migratory (C0017677)

Definition (NCI) A benign condition characterized by the development of irregular patches in the surface of the tongue resulting in a map-like appearance. The patches migrate from day to day and usually resolve without treatment.
Definition (MSH) An idiopathic disorder characterized by the loss of filiform papillae leaving reddened areas of circinate macules bound by a white band. The lesions heal, then others erupt.
Concepts Disease or Syndrome (T047)
MSH D005929
ICD9 529.1
ICD10 K14.1, A26.0
SnomedCT 59032001, 266496009, 155667007
English Geographic Tongue, Glossitis Areata Exfoliativa, Migratory Glossitis, Benign, Tongue, Geographic, LINGUA GEOGRAPHICA, GLOSSITIS, BENIGN MIGRATORY, TONGUE GEOGRAPHIC, geographic tongue (diagnosis), glossitis areata exfoliativa (diagnosis), geographic tongue, glossitis areata exfoliativa, the tongue appeared geographic, Tongue geographic, Lingua geographica, Tongue gergraphic, geographic tongue (physical finding), Benign Migratory Glossitis, Erythema migrans, Glossitis, Benign Migratory [Disease/Finding], Glossitis, Benign Migratory, erythema migran, lingua geographica, geographical tongue, tongue geographic, lingual geographica, migratory benign glossitis, erythema migrans, benign migratory glossitis, Oral erythema migrans, Psoriasiform mucositis, Pityriasis linguae, Geographic tongue, Benign migratory glossitis, Glossitis areata exfoliativa, Denuded islands on tongue, Geographical tongue, Lingual erythema migrans, Lingual geographica, Geographic tongue (disorder), Glossitis areata migrans, benign; glossitis, migratory, erythema; migrans, tongue, exfoliativa areata; glossitis, geographica; lingua, glossitis; benign migratory, glossitis; exfoliativa areata, lingua; geographica, migrans; erythema, tongue, rash; tongue, wandering, wandering; rash, tongue
French GLOSSITE, LANGUE GEOGRAPHIQUE, Langue géographique (glossite exfoliatrice marginée), Glossite exfoliatrice marginée, Langue géographique
Portuguese LINGUA GEOGRAFICA, Língua geográfica, Glossite Esfoliativa Circunscrita, Glossite Migratória Benigna, Língua Geográfica
Italian Lingua a carta geografica, Lingua geografica, Glossite areata esfoliativa, Glossite benigna migrante
Dutch lingua geografica, benigne; migrerende glossitis, erytheem; migrans, tong, exfoliativa areata; glossitis, geographica; lingua, glossitis; benigne migrerend, glossitis; exfoliativa areata, lingua; geographica, migrans; erytheem, tong, migrerend; uitslag, tong, uitslag; tong, migrerend, landkaarttong, Glossitis areata exfoliativa, Landkaarttong, Lingua geographica, Tong, landkaart-
German Zunge geographisch, geographische Zunge, LANDKARTENZUNGE, LINGUA GEOGRAPHICA, Glossitis areata exfoliativa, Glossitis migrans, benigna, Landkartenzunge, Lingua geographica
Swedish Glossit, benign migrerande
Japanese チズジョウシタ, チズジョウゼツ, 舌-地図状, 舌炎-良性移動性, 剥離性地図舌炎, 地図状舌, 良性移動性舌炎, 良性遊走性舌炎, 舌炎-良性遊走性
Czech glositida benigní migrační, Mapovitý jazyk, mapovitý jazyk, mapovité postižení jazyka, lingua geographica
Finnish Karttakieli
Korean 지도상 혀
Polish Zapalenie języka złuszczające brzeżne, Język geograficzny, Pierścień wędrujący
Hungarian Térképszerű nyelv, Térképnyelv
Norwegian Lingua geografica, Geografisk tunge, Tunge, geografisk, Benign migrerende glossitt
Spanish glositis areata exfoliativa, glositis areata migratoria, glositis migratoria benigna, lengua geográfica (trastorno), lengua geográfica, Lengua geográfica, Glositis Areata Exfoliativa, Glositis Migratoria Benigna, Lengua Geográfica
Derived from the NIH UMLS (Unified Medical Language System)

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