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Excision of rare adult cervical thymic cyst

Abstract

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.

  • ear
  • nose and throat/otolaryngology
  • pathology
  • radiology
  • surgery
  • head and neck surgery

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