neck swellings derived from paired lateral structures

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These swelling tend to lie laterally in the neck.

The commonest causes of a swelling derived from a lateral paired structure are:

  • congenital anomalies (1)
    • branchial anomalies
      • the most common congenital masses in the lateral neck
      • these masses include:
        • cysts (branchial cysts)
        • sinuses
        • fistulae
    • these may be seen along the sternocleidomastoid muscle
    • others congenital anomalies of the lateral neck include (1)
      • cystic hygromas (lymphangiomas)
      • dermoids
  • other lesions include:
    • lymph node enlargement
    • thyroid swellings
    • salivary gland tumours
    • sternomastoid tumour
    • cervical rib
    • carotid artery aneurysms
    • arteriovenous fistula
    • carotid body tumour
    • actinomycosis
    • muscle tumours
    • clavicular tumours
    • spinal abscesses


Last reviewed 01/2018