Fissured tongue is a benign developmental defect.


Synonyms: scrotal tongue (no longer accepted); lingua plicata


Clinical features:

(1) Deep fissures are present in the tongue.

(1a) Most often there is central groove running along the longitudinal axis of the dorsum of the tongue, with multiple side grooves.

(1b) The fissures may be found elsewhere on the tongue.

(2) Papillae may be absent in deeper grooves.

(3) Food and debris may be trapped in the deeper grooves, resulting in bacterial overgrowth and inflammation.

(4) Some patients may experience tongue pain as a result.


Risk factors:

(1) Fissuring tends to increase with age.

(2) Down syndrome

(3) psoriasis

(4) Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome

(5) Sjogren's syndrome

(6) acromegaly (which may be associated with macroglossia)


The risk of complications is increased if the person has poor oral hygiene.


Brushing the tongue after meals and before sleep can reduce buildup of debris within the grooves. Topical lidocaine can reduce pain.


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