BRANCHIAL CYST

BRANCHIAL CYST

Branchial cystS are developmental abnormality due to trapped tissues in the neck. These anomalies appear as a soft lump. They can appear in any age group yet are very common in the first decade of life. Because these anomalies develop in the growing embryo, any tract that forms in combination with a cyst follows a fairly predictable pattern. The tracts connect the cyst to the inside of the throat at a specific area. It is important to understand this relationship so that the entire tract can be excised and will not recur.An ultra sound scan of the neck and fine needle aspiration cytology will help to establish the diagnosis. Treatment is complete removal of the cyst before it has a chance to get infected and become an abscess. Surgery is performed under general anesthesia by making an incision over the cyst or draining area. Every effort is made to place the incision in an existing skin crease so that cosmetically the child's scar will be minimal. These operations usually last between one and two hours. Ear, nose and throat specialists have extensive training in surgery of the neck, making them the most qualified doctors for this type of surgery. If the cyst has become infected (or formed an abscess) prior to removal, incision and drainage of the abscess may be necessary first, followed by treatment with antibiotics. The cyst and tract can then be safely removed at a later date.