Cervical bronchogenic cysts mimic metastatic lymph nodes during thyroid cancer surgery

Hak Hoon Jun, Seok Mo Kim, Yong Sang Lee, Soon Won Hong, Hang Seok Chang, Cheong Soo Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Although congenital bronchogenic cysts in the cervical region, especially in the thyroid or perithyroidal area, are rare, distinguishing them from other cervical cystic lesions (e.g., thyroglossal duct and branchial cleft cysts) and metastatic cervical lymph nodes is difficult preoperatively. Additionally, cystic degeneration of metastatic lymph nodes is common in patients with thyroid cancer. We investigated the clinical characteristics and proper treatment for individuals with cervical bronchogenic cysts. Methods: Of the 18,900 patients treated for thyroid cancer, 18 patients with pathologically confirmed bronchogenic cysts were retrospectively reviewed. Bilateral total thyroidectomy or less than total thyroidectomy with central compartment node dissection, including cystic mass excision was done and cystic mass was confirmed by postoperative pathologic examination. Results: All cervical bronchogenic cysts were asymptomatic. Their mean size was 1.2 cm (range, 0.3 to 3 cm). Of these 18 patients, 15 did not have any abnormal radiological findings, except for lymphadenopathy during preoperative evaluations. Most bronchogenic cysts were detected around the thyroid and paratracheal areas. On preoperative imaging and intraoperatively, most were indistinguishable from metastatic cervical lymph nodes or other cystic lesions. Conclusion: Although cervical bronchogenic cysts are rare and benign, they should be distinguished from other cystic cervical masses, especially metastatic cervical lymph nodes associated with thyroid cancer. Possible cervical bronchogenic cysts found during thyroid cancer evaluation or surgery should be surgically excised.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-231
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Surgical Treatment and Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014 May

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery


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