Branchial Cyst - Experience

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What is a branchial cyst?

A branchial cyst is a cavity that is a congenital remnant from embryologic development. It is present at birth on one side of the neck and is located just in front of the large angulated muscle on either side of the neck running from just behind the ear down to the clavicle (collarbone). This muscle is called the sternocleidomastoid muscle. The cyst may not be recognized until adolescence as it enlarges its oval shape. Such a sinus tract may either have a small dimple or skin tag at the opening. The cyst is a smooth, soft and nontender structure.

A branchial cyst is also called branchial cleft cyst.

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Comment from: 55-64 (Patient) Published: December 30

I am a 55 year old woman who noticed one day that a lump popped out of the right side of my neck. I went to the emergency room in which I was kept from 10:00 pm until 4:00 pm the following day. They did an ultra-sound and a CT scan and they drained the fluid from the cyst. At that time they told me they thought it was a second branchial cleft cyst. When I was born I had a cyst on the left side of my neck which was removed when I was 5 years old. I was referred to an ENT specialist who did a biopsy on it and it was inconclusive. I ended up having the cyst removed. It has been 3 weeks since my surgery. I have a 3 1/2 inch cut on my right side of my neck and part of my face is still numb. They did a biopsy on the cyst which came out fine.

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