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    Branchial cleft cyst

    Cleft sinus

    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

    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.

    The birth defect may appear as open spaces called cleft sinuses, which may develop on one or both sides of the neck. A branchial cleft cyst may form from fluid drained from a sinus. The cyst or sinus can become infected.

    Symptoms

    • Small pits, lumps, or skin tags at either side of the neck or just below the collarbone
    • Fluid drainage from a pit on the neck

    Exams and Tests

    Your baby's health care provider may be able to diagnose this condition during a physical examination. The following tests may be done:

    • CT scan
    • MRI scan
    • Ultrasound

    Treatment

    Antibiotics will be given if the cyst or sinuses are infected.

    Surgery is generally done to remove a branchial cyst toprevent complications, such as repeated infections.

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    Surgery is usually successful, with good results.

    Possible Complications

    The cyst or sinuses may become infected.

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you notice a small pit, cleft, or lump in the neck or upper shoulder of your infant, especially if fluid drains from this area.

    References

    Wetmore RF, Potsic WP. Differential diagnosis of neck masses. In: Flint PW, Haughey BH, Lund LJ, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2010:chap 198.

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              Review Date: 11/13/2011

              Reviewed By: 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.

              The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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              St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
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