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May 1969

Branchial Cleft Cysts in the Mediastinum

Author Affiliations

Nashville, Tenn; Los Angeles
From the Division of Otolaryngology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tenn (Dr. Downey) and the Division of Head and Neck Surgery (Otolaryngology), University of California, Los Angeles (Dr. Ward).

Arch Otolaryngol. 1969;89(5):762-765. doi:10.1001/archotol.1969.00770020764017

THE MEDICAL literature contains numerous articles on the subject of branchial cleft cysts. Their origin and significance has been discussed from many points of view. By far the most common anatomical site for the occurrence of branchial cleft cysts is in the cervical area, generally anterior to the sternocleidomastoid muscle in the upper or middle portion of the neck. Review of the available literature revealed no cases resembling branchial cleft cysts occurring in the mediastinum. Among the large series of primary mediastinal tumors reported, no reference could be found to either a branchial cleft sinus or branchiogenic cyst by name or the histologic description of a lesion which resembles such a tumor.

Though the possibility of a branchial cleft cyst in the mediastinum has been discounted by some and ignored by most, the diagnosis of such a lesion seems reasonable if certain criteria are met. If the histology is that

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