Laryngeal cysts can occur in any part of the larynx, but are more frequent in supraglottic locations, such as the epiglottis and vallecula. The prevalence of each location varies on different studies.
The laryngeal cysts represent a rare group, about 5%, of benign laryngeal lesions 1. There is no gender predilection 3.
Normally they are examination findings in patients with non-specific symptoms or who are asymptomatic. Patients can have laryngeal stridor or dyspnoea 2.
The lesions can cause significant respiratory obstruction, and even death, if not properly treated.
Well-defined, fluid-attenuation, non-enhancing rounded lesion
Well-defined, fluid signal intensity, non-enhancing rounded lesion
Treatment and prognosis
Different forms of treatment have been described for laryngeal cysts, such as aspiration, marsupialisation with laser ablation and complete excision. Recurrence is directly related to the maintenance of remnants of the cyst wall 2.
General imaging differential considerations include:
- 1. Henderson LT, Denneny JC, Teichgraeber J. Airway-obstructing epiglottic cyst. Ann. Otol. Rhinol. Laryngol. 1985;94 (5 Pt 1): 473-6. Pubmed citation
- 2. Cahali RB, Zimbres SA, Tsuji DH, Cahali MB, Sennes LU. Cistos supraglóticos de laringe: aspectos etiológicos, clínicos e terapêuticos. Rev. Bras. Otorrinolaringol. 2002;68(5): 663-666.
- 3. DeSanto LW, Devine KD, Weiland LH. Cysts of the larynx-classification. Laryngoscope. 1970;80 (1): 145-76. Pubmed citation