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Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2003 Dec;67(12):1285-90.

Thyroglossal duct cysts: presentation and management in children versus adults.

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School of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.



To determine if the clinical presentation of thyroglossal duct cysts (TGDC) varies between children and adults and whether this knowledge helps optimize the surgical management.


We retrospectively identified all patients with TGDC managed in our department between 1992 and 2002. We reviewed the patients' charts and recorded their gender, age at diagnosis, clinical presentation, radiologic imaging, surgical management, post-operative complications, and recurrence rate and compared the variables between the children and adults.


Twenty-one children and 41 adults were treated for TGDC. Of the children, 57% were male and 43% were female, whereas 49% of the adults were male and 51% were female (P = 0.53). The average age was 6 +/- 5 years in children and 45 +/- 16 years in adults, which demonstrates a bimodal distribution. Forty-three percent of children and 42% of adults presented with an infected neck mass (P > 0.99). Among our patients, 96% of the adults and 100% of the children underwent a Sistrunk operation. Four children developed a wound infection that resolved with antibiotics. One adult developed a haematoma and another developed a wound seroma. There was one recurrence among adults and one among children, both of whom were treated with a second Sistrunk procedure.


There appears to be a bimodal distribution for age at presentation of TGDC. Since the differential diagnosis among adults is broader, the opportunity for misdiagnosis is greater. However, once the correct diagnosis is made, the surgical management and post-operative outcome between adults and children is the same.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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