Thyroglossal duct cyst: Factors affecting cosmetic outcome and recurrence

Pediatr Int. 2019 Oct;61(10):1020-1024. doi: 10.1111/ped.13955.


Background: Thyroglossal duct cyst (TDC) is the most common congenital abnormality in the neck in children. The purpose of this study was to perform a comprehensive review of all cases of TDC surgically treated at a single institution and to evaluate the factors that influence the rate of recurrence, and the aesthetic outcome of the surgery on follow up.

Methods: All cases of TDC surgically treated at the Department of Pediatric Surgery at Meyer Hospital from January 2005 to December 2016 were selected. Charts from 248 patients were reviewed and risk factors for recurrence evaluated. A questionnaire was submitted to the patients' parents to determine if postoperative complications were present and standardized neck pictures were requested, to evaluate the cosmetic result . Microsoft Office Excel 2007 for Windows and Graphpad Prism 6 were used for data management and statistical analysis.

Results: Simple cyst excision and post-inflammatory fibrosis (P < 0.05) were assessed as important risk factors for the recurrence of TDC. Recurrence rate on Sistrunk procedure was 5%. Variables such as post-inflammatory fibrosis before surgery (P < 0.001), the positioning of a drain (P < 0.01) and the development of recurrence (P < 0.001), negatively influenced the cosmetic result. No thyroglossal duct cyst carcinoma and no long-term postoperative complications were observed.

Conclusions: Recurrence rates were higher in patients who underwent simple cyst excision instead of the Sistrunk procedure, as already reported in literature. Presence of post-inflammatory fibrosis and positioning of the drain at surgery were associated with higher rates of recurrence, as well as worse cosmetic outcome.

Keywords: cosmetic; inflammation; recurrence; scar; thyroglossal duct cyst.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cicatrix / epidemiology
  • Cicatrix / etiology
  • Esthetics
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors
  • Thyroglossal Cyst / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome