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Thyroglossal duct cyst in Infant/Neonate
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Thyroglossal duct cyst in Infant/Neonate

Contributors: Craig N. Burkhart MD, Dean Morrell MD, Lowell A. Goldsmith MD, MPH
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Thyroglossal duct cysts (TGDCs) are embryological remnants that fail to regress after fetal descent of the thyroid gland. TGDCs are by far the most common cervical malformation in children. TGDCs typically present in childhood, with a median age of 5.6 years, as midline, painless, soft masses. There is no sex predominance. At least half of childhood cases present when the TGDC is complicated by infection, in which case the cysts may be painful. Cysts may rarely cause life-threatening airway obstruction.


Q89.2 – Congenital malformations of other endocrine glands

39462005 – Thyroglossal duct cyst

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

  • Cervical lymphadenitis / lymphadenopathy – The most common source of palpable neck masses in children.
  • Cutaneous dermoid cyst – The second most common cystic neck lesion in children, often midline.
  • Epidermoid cyst
  • Branchial cleft cyst or sinus
  • Cutaneous cartilaginous rest of the neck – This is typically present at birth, stable in size, off midline and over the sternocleidomastoid muscle.
  • Cystic hygroma
  • Fibromatosis
  • Thymic cyst
  • Bronchogenic cyst
  • Midline cervical cleft – These present as midline neck linear lesions found almost exclusively in young white females.
  • Midline anterior neck inclusion cyst (MANIC) – A type of superficial midline developmental anomaly

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Last Updated:08/29/2018
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Thyroglossal duct cyst in Infant/Neonate
A medical illustration showing key findings of Thyroglossal duct cyst : Anterior neck, Neck mass, Tender cyst
Clinical image of Thyroglossal duct cyst - imageId=2428380. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'An eroded shiny papule on the anterior neck.'
An eroded shiny papule on the anterior neck.
Copyright © 2024 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.