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Wide anterior neck dissection for management of recurrent thyroglossal duct cysts in adults

  • L M O'Neil (a1) (a2), D A Gunaratne (a3), A T Cheng (a2) (a4) (a5) and F Riffat (a2) (a3) (a6)



Thyroglossal duct cyst recurrence following resection is attributed to anatomical variability and residual thyroglossal ducts. In adults, thyroglossal duct cyst recurrence is extremely rare and a surgical solution is yet to be well explored. This paper describes our approach to the management of recurrent thyroglossal duct cysts and sinuses in adults using a wide anterior neck dissection.


A retrospective review was performed to identify adults who underwent a wide anterior neck dissection for recurrent thyroglossal duct cyst management between 1 January 2009 and 1 January 2015.


Six males and one female were included in the series (mean age, 26.4 ± 10.9 years). Recurrence occurred at a mean of 18 ± 9.8 months following primary surgical management (3 patients underwent cystectomy and 4 had a Sistrunk procedure). All patients subsequently underwent wide anterior neck dissection; there was no further recurrence over the 12-month average follow-up period.


This paper describes a wide anterior neck dissection technique for the management of recurrent thyroglossal duct cysts or sinuses in adults; this approach addresses the variable anatomy of the thyroglossal duct and is associated with minimal morbidity.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Dr Luke O'Neil, Department of Surgery, Blacktown Hospital, 18 Blacktown Road, Blacktown, NSW 2148, Australia Fax:+61 298 937 440 E-mail:


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