Branchial cleft cysts: a pictorial review
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Publication date: 2018-05-11
Pol J Radiol, 2018; 83: 204-209
Cystic masses of the neck may represent a wide variety of pathological conditions. Among these, branchial anoma­lies are the commonest paediatric congenital lesions of the head and neck. This article intends to review this condition under the same headings, as well as facilitate their diagnosis with the help of appropriate radiological findings of patients diagnosed with these anomalies. In order to make an accurate diagnosis, it is imperative to have an idea about the possible differentials, and the normal embryological development of the branchial arches, as well as their anomalies, in the form of sinuses, fistulae, and cysts, with their features and subtypes. The medical history of the patient and clinical manifestations helps in suspecting branchial cleft cysts; confirmatory imaging modalities include computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasonography, and fine-needle aspiration. The mainstay of management is usually by surgical excision. The location, clinical picture, and radiological correlation, along with a strong degree of suspicion for the condition, facilitates the diagnosis of this relatively common embryological anomaly.
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