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J Laryngol Otol. 2011 Nov;125(11):1199-203. doi: 10.1017/S0022215111001368. Epub 2011 Jun 14.

Congenital vallecular cyst in an infant: case report and review of 52 recent cases.

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  • 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Tohoku University School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan.



Vallecular cyst is uncommon in infants. We treated a female infant with vallecular cyst, and curious magnetic resonance imaging findings. We also review 51 other cases of vallecular cyst in infants reported over the past 23 years.


A three-month-old female infant presented with congenital inspiratory stridor and failure to thrive. Flexible laryngoscopy and ultrasonography revealed a cystic mass in the vallecula. Magnetic resonance imaging findings were initially curious because of artefacts from breathing and swallowing. Marsupialisation of the cyst was performed. Post-operatively, the patient was immediately free of symptoms.


Magnetic resonance imaging presents various difficulties in infants, but has the best diagnostic effectiveness. We recommend the use of magnetic resonance imaging, flexible fibroscopy and ultrasonography to enable extensive examination of suspected vallecular cysts in infants. Marsupialisation has a recurrence rate of only one in 39 cases, and its safety and effectiveness are well balanced. Thus, prompt marsupialisation of vallecular cyst is the recommended surgical procedure.

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