Congenital midline cervical cleft: A retrospective case series of 8 children

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2016 Feb:81:60-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2015.12.008. Epub 2015 Dec 29.


Objectives: Congenital midline cervical cleft is a rare developmental abnormality of the ventral neck of unclear etiology. It consists of a midline skin defect. This study reports a case series of 8 patients with congenital midline cervical cleft.

Methods: Retrospective review chart including all children referred with congenital midline cervical cleft over 5 years in tertiary center. The study was conducted to determine the presence of associated malformations, to specify the cleft pathology, to analyze the nature of associated cysts, and to discuss surgical procedure.

Results: Eight patients ranged from 3 days to 5 years. Two had an associated cervical midline cyst, 3 had a significant micrognatia. Pathological observations were in favor of a branchial origin. There was no recurrence of cervical contraction after a mean follow-up of 20 months.

Conclusion: Congenital midline cervical cleft is a rare and generally isolated congenital malformation. It does not require either extensive assessment or specific genetic. Described associated cysts might be part of the cleft and not bronchogenic or thyroglossal cysts. Early surgical excision reduces cervical contracture, but linear or Z-plasty closure is still debated.

Keywords: Branchial; Bronchogenic cyst; Cervical contracture; Congenital midline cervical cleft; Thyroglossal cyst; Z-plasty.

MeSH terms

  • Branchial Region / abnormalities*
  • Branchial Region / pathology
  • Branchial Region / surgery
  • Child, Preschool
  • Contracture / surgery
  • Craniofacial Abnormalities / complications*
  • Craniofacial Abnormalities / pathology
  • Craniofacial Abnormalities / surgery
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Neck / surgery*
  • Pharyngeal Diseases / complications*
  • Pharyngeal Diseases / pathology
  • Pharyngeal Diseases / surgery
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies

Supplementary concepts

  • Branchial Cleft Anomalies