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A Journal on Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery,
Plastic Reconstructive Surgery, Otoneurosurgery

Indexed/Abstracted in: EMBASE, Scopus




Otorinolaringologia 2002 March;52(1):13-20

language: Italian

Lateral cervical branchial cysts. Pathogenic theories and unusual cases report

Dispenza C., Saraniti C., Cernigliaro G., Caramanna C.

Università degli Studi - Palermo Istituto di Clinica Otorinolaringoiatrica


The pathogenesis of lateral cervical branchial cysts remains as much a topic of debate today as it was when two contending lines of thought emerged over 150 years ago. In 1832 Ascherson developed a congenital theory, while Luschka in 1848 proposed a theory that the cysts derived from cystic degeneration of the cervical lymph nodes. Between 1990 and 2001 we observed at our unit 12 cases of lateral cervical cysts originating from the first and second branchial fissures, of which six had atypical localization. These were then classified according to Work (1972) and Bailey (1922) to identify four cysts anterior to the upper third of the sternocleidomastoid muscle (type I according to Bailey), two cysts below the sternocleidomastoid (type II according to Bailey), three below the sternocleidomastoid (type III according to Bailey), three with unusual occurrence in the submandibular area (type II according to Work) and three with particularly rare localization, one of which was in the parapharyngeal area (type IV according to Bailey) and two posterior to the sternocleidomastoid. The preoperative procedure included endoscopy of the upper aero-digestive tracts and computed tomography imaging of all patients; those with unusual cyst localization also underwent MRI. All patients received cervicotomic enucleoresection.

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