A bronchogenic cyst is usually located in the anterior mediastinum, around the hilum, or some other intrathoracic location. Rarely these congenital cysts may occur in the neck.


Embryologic source: foregut, as a budding off from the tracheobronchial tree


Possible locations in the head and neck:

(1) in the midline of the neck above the sternum

(2) in the anterolateral neck above the sternum

(3) sublingual

(4) lingual

(5) paraspinal


Size: up to 3 cm


The lesions may be asymptomatic or they may cause symptoms (cough, stridor, dysphagia, dyspnea, other) due to compression of adjacent structures.


Imaging findings:

(1) a unilocalar, fluid-filled cyst

(2) homogeneous with a high attenuation

(3) The CT image does not enhance after administration of contrast material.

(4) An MRI shows increased signal on T2-weighted images.


Pathologic features of the cyst:

(1) respiratory type epithelium

(2) mucinous glands

(3) hyaline cartilage in the wall

(4) smooth muscle


Complications include:

(1) infection

(2) hemorrhage

(3) neoplasia (adenocarcinoma, leiomyosarcoma, mucoepidermoid carcinoma, other)


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