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Paediatric Pathology Online

Pathology of Cervical Thymic Cyst

 Dr Sampurna Roy MD 




Congenital cervical cysts are frequently encountered in paediatric populations, and constitute one of the most intriguing areas of paediatric pathology.

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Some of the congenital neck cysts include thyroglossal duct cysts, cystic hygromas , branchial cleft cysts , bronchogenic cysts and thymic cysts.

Thymic cysts are most often found between the ages of 3 and 8 years, and are more frequently seen on the left side of the neck.

They share a similar anatomical location with branchial cysts and both lesions are characterized by an epithelium lining the cyst in close apposition to lymphoid tissue.  

However, thymic cysts differ from branchial cysts in that they are commonest in the first decade while branchial cysts predominate in the third decade.

The lymphoid tissue in the wall of a thymic cyst is predominantly of thymic origin and usually includes Hassall's corpuscles where as lymphoid tissue associated with branchial cysts often exhibits germinal centers.

There seems little doubt that the primary event in thymic cysts is an arrest of migration of thymic tissue along the line of descent of the thymopharyngeal tract, followed by degeneration of Hassall's corpuscles and/or epithelial component of the aberrant thymic tissue.

Further reading

Thymic cyst in the differential diagnosis of paediatric cervical masses.

Thymic cyst in the neck

Cervical presentations of thymic anomalies in children.

Familial thymic cyst.

Cervical thymic cyst as a cause of acute suppurative thyroiditis.

Respiratory complications in cervical thymic cysts.

Congenital thymic cysts in the neck.

Progressive neonatal airway obstruction secondary to cervical thymic cyst.

Symptomatic cervical thymic cyst in a neonate.

Cervical thymic cyst.

Cervical thymic cyst.

Cervical thymic cyst: report of an unusual presentation of a rare lesion.



Dr Sampurna Roy  MD

Consultant  Histopathologist (Kolkata - India)






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