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Neck swellings derived from unpaired midline structures

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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These swellings tend to lie in the midline.

The most common causes of a neck swelling derived from a midline unpaired structure are:

  • congenital anomalies
    • thyroglossal cyst (the most common congenital anomaly of the midline of the neck)
    • thymic rests (1)
    • dermoids (1)
  • other lesions include:
    • pharyngeal pouch
    • laryngocoele
    • subhyoid bursa
    • carcinoma of the larynx, trachea and oesophagus
    • sublingual dermoid cyst
    • plunging ranula


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