Branchial cleft cyst
Branchial cleft cyst
Description, Causes and Risk Factors:
Alternative Name: Branchial cyst.
Branchial cleft cyst is a condition that has its beginning when the neck of the tiny embryo begins to take shape in the mother's womb. During this time of development, several deep grooves (branchial clefts) in the neck don't disappear as they should. As a result, a thin tube of tissue not much thicker than spaghetti remains under the skin of the neck. This tube usually runs from the middle or lower part of the neck upward and inward toward the throat on the side of the neck.
Branchial cleft cyst is most commonly seen in children and young adults.
There are three different kinds of branchial cleft cysts, categorized according to their location in the neck. The first branchial cleft cyst is found in the neck just below the jaw. The tract of the cyst may extend as far as the outer ear canal. A second branchial cleft cyst is found in the lower part of the neck between the large neck muscle, the sternocleidomastoid and the trachea (windpipe). This tract may extend as far as tonsillar area of the throat. The third branchial cleft cyst is found on the chest wall just below the collar bone. The tract of the third branchial cleft cyst is usually only a few millimeters deep.
Branchial cleft cyst appears as small pits, skin tags, or lumps which are present on either side of the neck or right under the collarbone. The cyst can be the size of a small olive or as largeas a chicken egg.Most of the time, the cyst is not painful. However, ifthe ?uid inside it becomes infected, it can be verypainful.The cyst may become enlarged, inflamed, or abscessed if the person suffers from some sort of ailment of the upper respiratory tract. The lump sometimes enlarges to such an extent that it causes difficulty in swallowing, troublesome breathing and hoarseness of voice. When the branchial cleft cyst symptoms are severe, fluid drainage from the pit on the neck is observed. This is a condition of medical emergency.
Usually the diagnosis can be made by taking adetailed history and doing a careful physicalexamination. If there are questions about thediagnosis, ultrasound can help clear up any doubts.Ultrasound is a convenient, painless, andharmless way to examine organs and tissues insidethe neck. It is especially useful to determine whetherthe ``mass'' is solid or ?lled with ?uid.
The appropriate treatment for a branchial cleft cyst or sinus is an operation to remove it. Having an operation to remove the cyst is necessary to prevent infection and to cure the problem. Branchial clef cysts will not go away without an operation, and once they are removed, the probably will not return. The operation is performed in Day Surgery and your child will be able to go home several hours after the procedure. On rare occasions the child will need to stay in the hospital for observation if respiratory problems occur after the operation.
NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.
DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.
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