Cervical thymic cysts (CTCs) represent 1% of all cervical cystic masses. A review of the literature found that CTCs are typically asymptomatic, with a propensity to be left sided. CTCs often require histological evaluation for diagnosis. A 27-year-old male patient presented to an outpatient otolaryngology clinic with worsening bilateral jaw and neck pain and an incidental right-sided neck mass found on cervical MRI. Preoperative differential diagnosis included venolymphatic malformation versus branchial cleft cyst. Histological examination of the excised specimen provided diagnosis of a CTC. Postoperatively, the patient reported improvement in cervical pain. CTCs are a rare cause of lateral neck mass in young adults. Typical presentation included neck enlargement with no symptoms or in some cases compressive symptoms. It is important to consider CTCs when formulating a differential for a lateral neck mass.
- nose and throat/otolaryngology
- head and neck surgery
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Contributors ZJC and VNS: reviewed published literature and wrote the manuscript. BK and KRN: critically reviewed the manuscript and cared for the study patient. JMVT: wrote the manuscript and photographed the histology slides. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.