Branchial Cleft Remnant

A branchial cleft remnant is a birth defect that occurs in your child's neck.

  • During the fifth week of fetal development, major head and neck structures are formed.
  • The five pharyngeal arches (bands of tissue) are important structures that are formed. These arches contain primitive connective tissue that becomes cartilage, bone, muscle and blood vessels.
  • Incomplete, failed or persistent embryonic development of these arches results in several anomalies or defects in the neck.

Two common congenital problems that can occur from this abnormal development are branchial cleft sinuses and cysts.


Kid-friendly care

Boston Children's Hospital provides special surgical care in a family-centered environment that children need. Our caring, compassionate and kid-friendly surgical team includes expert pediatric surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses and assistive personnel, all extensively trained and experienced in pediatric surgical care.