What is a branchial cleft cyst?

Updated: Jun 02, 2020
  • Author: Chih-Ho Hong, MD, FRCPC; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Answer

Branchial cleft cysts are congenital epithelial cysts, which arise on the lateral part of the neck from a failure of obliteration of the second branchial cleft in embryonic development. [1, 2]

Phylogenetically, the branchial apparatus is related to gill slits. In fish and amphibians, these structures are responsible for the development of the gills, hence the name branchial (branchia is Greek for gills).


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