Benign head and neck tumours

What is a thyroglossal cyst?

A thyroglossal cyst is a congenital (present from birth) cyst or fistula but one that can appear at any age, in most cases before the age of 25.

It has the appearance of a “lump” in the midline of the neck just above the Adam’s apple. If it becomes infected (which is uncommon), it can burst, creating a fistula. Although it is usually symptomless, it must always be removed as in 1% of patients it can become malignant.

The treatment for this type of cyst will require surgery. Our team uses the Sistrunk procedure, which prevents the cyst from coming back.

What is a branchial cleft cyst?

A branchial cleft cyst is a congenital cyst but one that can appear at any age. It has the appearance of a “lump” or bulge in the skin of the side of the neck, below the jaw.

It rarely has symptoms and does cause pain or difficulty when swallowing, although it may sometimes become infected.

Treatment involves the complete surgical removal of the cystBranchial cleft cysts are benign tumours, although on rare occasions they can be linked to some forms of cancer.