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Thyroglossal Cyst Surgery

Thyroglossal Cyst Surgery

A thyroglossal duct cyst happens when your thyroid, a large gland in your neck that produces hormones, leaves behind extra cells while it’s forming during your development in the womb. These extra cells can become cysts.

This kind of cyst is congenital, meaning that they’re present in your neck from the time you’re born. In some cases, the cysts are so small that they don’t cause any symptoms. Large cysts, on the other hand, can prevent you from breathing or swallowing properly and may need to be removed.

What are the symptoms of a thyroglossal duct cyst?

The most visible symptom of a thyroglossal duct cyst is the presence of a lump in the middle of the front of your neck between your Adam’s apple and your chin. The lump usually moves when you swallow or stick your tongue out.
The lump may not become apparent until a few years or more after you’re born. In some cases, you may not even notice a lump or know the cyst is there until you have an infection that causes the cyst to swell.
Other common symptoms of a thyroglossal duct cyst include:

  • speaking with a hoarse voice
  • having trouble breathing or swallowing
  • an opening in your neck near the cyst where mucus drains out
  • feeling tender near the area of the cyst
  • redness of the skin around the area of the cyst

Redness and tenderness may only happen if the cyst gets infected.

What causes this kind of cyst?

Normally, your thyroid gland begins developing at the bottom of your tongue and travels through the thyroglossal duct to take its place in your neck, right below your larynx (also known as your voice box). Then, the thyroglossal duct vanishes before you’re born.

When the duct doesn’t go away completely, the cells from the leftover duct tissue can leave openings that become filled with pus, fluid, or gas. Eventually, these matter-filled pockets can become cysts.

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How is this cyst diagnosed?

Your doctor may be able to tell if you have a thyroglossal duct cyst simply by examining a lump on your neck.

If your doctor suspects that you have a cyst, they may recommend one or more blood or imaging tests to look for the cyst in your throat and confirm the diagnosis. Blood tests can measure the amount of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in your blood, which indicates how well your thyroid is working.

Some imaging tests that may be used include:

  • Ultrasound: This test uses sound waves to generate real-time images of the cyst. Your doctor or an ultrasound technician covers your throat in a cool gel and uses a tool called a transducer to look at the cyst on a computer screen.
  • CT scan: This test uses X-rays to create a 3-D image of the tissues in your throat. Your doctor or a technician will ask you to lie flat on a table. The table is then inserted into a donut-shaped scanner that takes images from several directions.
  • MRI: This test uses radio waves and a magnetic field to generate images of the tissues in your throat. Like a CT scan, you’ll lie flat on a table and remain still. The table will be inserted inside a large, tube-shaped machine for a few minutes while images from the machine are sent to a computer for viewing.

Your doctor may also perform fine needle aspiration. In this test, your doctor inserts a needle into the cyst to extract cells that they can examine to confirm a diagnosis

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