Cervical ectopic thymus

Case contributed by Dr Hakan Ayyildiz


Asymptomatic child with known hypothyroidism came for his routine control 3 months interval ultrasound

Patient Data

Age: 1.5 years
Gender: Male

A relatively hypoechoic soft tissue mass lesion is noted inferior to submandibular gland lateral to carotid sheath and thyroid gland, similar to normal thymus echogenicity. The parenchyma had vascularity and the resistive index (RI) measured 0.57.

Case Discussion

Ectopic thymus is an embryological abnormality in children. It can be revealed by a compressive neck mass mistaken for a malignant tumor. Ectopic cervical thymus is seen in ultrasound as a mass of hypoechoic texture and occasionally contain vascularity in color Doppler ultrasound. It can be mistaken for a malignant mass and can go to the biopsy unnecessarily, especially intrathyroidal thymus. To avoid unnecessary further examination or biopsy, radiologist must be aware of this situation, especially in the pediatric population. 

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Case information

rID: 63681
Published: 5th Jan 2019
Last edited: 6th Jan 2019
Inclusion in quiz mode: Excluded
Institution: Istanbul Tıp Fakültesi

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