Fast Five Quiz: Can You Identify and Properly Treat Worrisome Neck Masses?

Elwyn C. Cabebe, MD


May 01, 2018

Definitive branchial cleft cyst surgery should not be attempted during an episode of acute infection or if an abscess is present. Surgical incision and drainage of abscesses are indicated if present, usually along with concurrent antimicrobial therapy.

An estimated 2%-3% of branchial cleft cyst cases are bilateral. Branchial cleft cyst cases have a tendency to cluster in families. The diagnosis of branchial cleft cyst can usually be made on the basis of CT scan findings in conjunction with the appropriate clinical history. Fine-needle aspiration may be helpful to distinguish branchial cleft cysts from malignant neck masses.

For more on branchial cleft cysts, read here.


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