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Nasopharyngeal cyst in an adolescent boy: differential diagnosis – embryological and anatomical considerations
  1. Anastasios Goulioumis1,2,
  2. Sotirios Fouzas3,
  3. Elisavet-Maria Xenofontos1 and
  4. Kostis Gyftopoulos2
  1. 1Otorhinolaryngology, Karamandanio Children's Hospital, Patras, Greece
  2. 2Anatomy, University of Patras School of Health Sciences, Patras, Greece
  3. 3Department of Pediatrics, University of Patras, Patra, Greece
  1. Correspondence to Dr Anastasios Goulioumis; goulioum{at}


In the current article, we present a case of an adolescent boy with a nasopharyngeal cyst that induced nasal and Eustachian tube obstruction. Nasopharyngeal cysts can be found incidentally during imaging examinations such as MRI; however, a symptomatic nasopharyngeal cyst is a rare finding in the paediatric population. The cyst was treated successfully by marsupialisation, and the histological diagnosis revealed an adenoidal retention cyst. The differential diagnosis of a nasopharyngeal cyst is always challenging since developmental cysts such as Rathke’s pouch cysts, Torwaldt’s and branchial cleft cysts may be encountered at the nasopharynx. The current article also intends to present the diagnostic and therapeutic approach to a nasopharyngeal cyst, emphasising anatomical and embryological considerations that address its differential diagnosis.

  • Ear, nose and throat/otolaryngology
  • Paediatrics
  • Otolaryngology / ENT

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  • Contributors The following authors were responsible for drafting of the text (AG), sourcing and editing of clinical images (AG and E-MX), investigation results, drawing original diagrams and algorithms, and critical revision for important intellectual content (AG, SF, E-MX and KG).

  • 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.

  • Case reports provide a valuable learning resource for the scientific community and can indicate areas of interest for future research. They should not be used in isolation to guide treatment choices or public health policy.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.