First branchial cleft cyst (type 1)

Case contributed by Dr Katia Kaplan-List


4 year old male with a history of right sided postauricular mass.

Patient Data

Age: 4 years old
Gender: Male

There is an oval well-circumscribed low T1 high T2 signal intensity cystic mass located posterior to the right pinna and concha, that measures 1.7 (AP) by 0.8 (transverse) by 1.6 (CC) centimeters. The mass does not demonstrate enhancement on the postcontrast images. No fistulous tract is identified.

Case Discussion

The branchial apparatus develops during the second to sixth weeks of fetal life. The first branchial cleft develops into the external auditory canal. First branchial cleft cysts are subdivided base upon location: type I cysts are located near the external auditory canal usually inferior, posterior and medial to the tragus/pinna.

All types of 1st branchial cleft cysts are intimately associated with the facial nerve and the parotid gland. Clinical manifestations range from a palpable mass to those associated with infection.

The main differential diagnostic consideration in our case is a lymphatic malformation.

PlayAdd to Share

Case information

rID: 42652
Published: 1st Feb 2016
Last edited: 14th Aug 2019
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included

Updating… Please wait.

 Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

 Thank you for updating your details.