First branchial cleft cyst - type 1

Case contributed by Katia Kaplan-List


History of right sided postauricular mass.

Patient Data

Age: 4 years
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.

How to use cases

You can use Radiopaedia cases in a variety of ways to help you learn and teach.

Creating your own cases is easy.

Updating… Please wait.

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

 Thank you for updating your details.