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Thyroglossal Duct Cyst

  • Thyroglossal duct cyst
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    Boston Children's Hospital 
    300 Longwood Avenue
    Boston MA 02115

  • In-Depth

    What are the symptoms of a thyroglossal cyst?

    • The cyst is seen as a mass in the middle of the neck.
    • It's round and firm with no opening.
    • The cyst usually does not cause any pain.
    • The cyst moves up when the tongue is stuck out of the mouth or with swallowing.
    • Occasionally the cyst can be seen to one side or other of the breathing tube.
    • Bacteria from the mouth may infect the thyroglossal duct cyst, which can cause sudden swelling of the cyst and redness or tenderness in the area of the cyst.
  • Tests

    How is a thyroglossal cyst diagnosed?
    Your child's doctor will be able to diagnose this cyst through a physical examination.

  • How is a thyroglossal cyst treated?

    Unless your child's cyst is infected, your doctor will recommend surgical removal. If it's infected, the infection must be controlled before surgery can be done.

    What happens on the day of surgery?

    It's a fairly simple operation.

    General anesthesia is used. You will meet with the anesthesiologist and the surgeon on the day of surgery. Most children go home the same day unless there are any breathing problems or a small drain is placed in the wound. In those cases, your child may need to stay overnight.

    After surgery, your child will stay in the Day Surgery Unit until she is ready to go home. Parents are welcome to stay with their child during this time.

    What happens after surgery?

    • You will be given a written instruction sheet before you go home telling you how to care for your child.
    • Your child will probably have some discomfort after the operation. The doctor may prescribe pain medicine. Give pain medicine as prescribed and instructed by your doctor and nurse.
    • It is usually not necessary to remove stitches. They are under the skin and dissolve on their own.
    • A clear waterproof dressing or bandage may be applied to the incision.
    • Your child may shower or have a sponge bath at home one to two days after surgery.
    • Your child's doctor will ask you to make a follow-up appointment about 2 weeks after the surgery to check how the area is healing.

    My child's cyst seems infected. Should we postpone the surgery?

    It depends. If the area near the cyst becomes red, tender, swollen, or drains, please call your surgeon.

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This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

This department is currently not accepting appointment requests online. Please call us at: 617-355-6000. International +1-617-355-6000.

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