Branchial cleft cyst

Alternative Names

Cleft sinus

Definition of Branchial cleft cyst

A branchial cleft cyst is a lump that develops in the neck or just below the collarbone. It is a type of birth defect.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Branchial cleft cysts form during development of the embryo. They occur when tissues in the neck and collarbone area (branchial cleft) fail to develop normally.

Signs and tests

Your baby’s health care provider will be able to diagnose this condition with a physical examination. Testing is usually not necessary.

Treatment

Infected branchial cleft cysts or sinuses require antibiotic treatment. If there are persistent problems with drainage or infection, any cysts should be surgically removed.

Expectations (prognosis)

Most branchial cleft remnants require no treatment. If surgery is required, results are usually good.

Review

Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 11/2/2009

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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