Cervical presentations of thymic anomalies in children

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2004 Jul;68(7):909-14. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2004.02.012.


Objective: To better define the clinical manifestations, radiologic imaging and the surgical management of cervical thymic lesions in children.

Study design: Multi-center retrospective case review.

Methods: The charts of all children with pathologically confirmed thymic lesions at six children's hospitals (1990-2002) were reviewed for demographics, physical findings, X-ray findings, operative outcomes and pathology.

Results: There were a total of 15 children, 2 of whom had ectopic cervical thymus and 13 who had thymic cysts. They ranged in age from 1 month to 18 years. Thymic lesions were more common in males. Ectopic cervical thymus was best defined by MRI whereas thymic cyst had a more consistent appearance on CT. All children had successful surgical resection with no recorded complications or recurrences.

Conclusions: Cervical thymic lesions are rare. Ectopic cervical thymus tends to be found primarily in infants whereas thymic cysts occur in a wider age range. Radiologic imaging is important but is not histologically specific. Definitive diagnosis and cure requires complete surgical excision.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Choristoma / pathology*
  • Choristoma / surgery
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Mediastinal Cyst / pathology*
  • Mediastinal Cyst / surgery
  • Neck
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spinal Diseases / pathology*
  • Spinal Diseases / surgery
  • Thymus Gland*