Branchial Cyst

Branchial cyst is a developmental cyst that can appear anywhere in the neck. It can present as a lump, cyst or an abscess. These cyst can cause pressure symptoms, abscess formation , and has a potential for malignant transformation.

All cysts and lumps (in adults) in the neck require a fine needle aspiration which is a needle sample test of the lump. The aspiration is done with a very fine needle (smaller than blood sampling needle). The diagnosis is made by evaluating the aspirated sample by the pathologist and additional information from a CT or MRI scan.

These cyst should be excised with any associated extensions, tracts so this will reduce chance of recurrences. Surgery for these cysts can vary from 1 to 3 hours and 1 to 2 day hospital stay. Patients can resume normal activity within 5 to 7 days and the wound is well healed by 10 days.


2 year old child with Branchial cyst - large 5 cm right neck

2 year old child with Branchial cyst - large 5 cm right neck


Surgical view of the cyst next to the jugular vein

Surgical view of the cyst next to the jugular vein


At the end of surgery

At the end of surgery



25 year old adult with Branchial Cyst in the right neck 4cm

25 year old adult with Branchial Cyst in the right neck 4cm


Removed cyst at end of procedure

Removed cyst at end of procedure


Murali Mahadevan

Specialist ENT Surgeon

For all enquiries and appointments call (09) 631 1950

Gillies Hospital & Clinic
160 Gillies Avenue
Epsom, Auckland 1005

Facsimile: (09) 631 1951

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Fellow of Royal Australasian College of Surgeons