Congenital Anatomic Defects of the Head and Neck

  1. TGDC: Thyroglossal Duct Cyst
  2. Branchial Cleft
  3. Cystic Hygroma

Compare by Location, Etiology, Age, Presentation, Treatment



  1. Midline
  2. lateral, anterior
  3. lateral, posterior


  1. thyroglossal tract remnant
  2. 2nd branchial arch most common
  3. lymphangioma


  1. bimodal: 2-3 yrs & teens
  2. first decade of life
  3. first year of life


  1. painless, asymptomatic, elevates with protrusion of the tongue, presents w/ inflammation
  2. cysts, sinuses, fistulas, presents w/ inflammation in childhood
  3. soft, diffuse, nontender, may transilluminate, increase w/ crying


  1. abx, thyroid scan, complete excision
  2. abx, complete excision
  3. CXR. may resolve, may need excision

CHLA Board Review 2005