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Third and fourth branchial pouch anomalies

  • P. A. Rea (a1), B. E. J. Hartley (a2) and C. M. Bailey (a2)


Congenital sinuses arising from the pyriform fossae are rare. They may present as neck cysts, recurrent neck abscesses, thyroiditis or neonatal stridor. Children typically undergo multiple surgical procedures before the diagnosis is made.

We present our recent experience of five third-pouch sinuses and four fourth-pouch sinuses, including one bilateral case. The median age at presentation was four years. The mean number of operations prior to diagnosis was six (range 0-13), with a mean delay to diagnosis of six years. The diagnosis was made by barium swallow, by ultrasound, at pharyngoscopy or at open surgery. The median age at definitive surgery was 10 years. Definitive treatment involved complete excision of the sinus and neck mass in seven cases. Two sinuses were treated with endoscopicdiathermy to their internal opening.

Adoption of the correct nomenclature, diagnostic tools and operative requirements for these cases will help reduce the significant morbidity.


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The Journal of Laryngology & Otology
  • ISSN: 0022-2151
  • EISSN: 1748-5460
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-laryngology-and-otology
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