Skip to Content

Branchial Cleft Cyst

Branchial Cleft Cyst

What is a branchial cleft cyst?

A branchial cleft cyst is an oval, moderately movable cystic mass that develops under the skin between the sternocleidomastoid (neck) muscle and the pharynx. It is a remnant of embryonic development. A branchial cleft sinus is a small opening along the neck muscle which may connect to the mouth. Branchial cleft cysts can become infected. Branchial cleft sinuses can continue to drain fluid on their own. Neither of these conditions will resolve spontaneously.

How is a branchial cleft cyst treated?

A small incision is made in the neck and the cyst is removed. Sinuses may occasionally need two incisions for complete repair. Cysts are removed to prevent infection. This is a day surgery operation and your child may return home the same day.

En Español

Learn More

For additional information on branchial cysts visit the APSA Family and Parent Resource Center's page here »

Contact Us

University of Texas Health Science Center Professional Building
Department of Pediatric Surgery

6410 Fannin Street, Suite 950
Houston, Texas 77030

Phone: (832) 325-7234

Office Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Monday-Friday except major holidays)

Contact us »

This information, although based on a thorough knowledge and careful review of current medical literature, is the opinion of doctors at The University of Texas Medical School and is presented to inform you about surgical conditions. It is not meant to contradict any information you may receive from your personal physician and should not be used to make decisions about surgical treatment. If you have any questions about the information above or your child's care, please contact our doctors.