Airway injury complicating excision of thyroglossal duct cysts.

Wootten CT, Goudy SL, Rutter MJ, Willging JP, Cotton RT
Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2009 73 (6): 797-801

PMID: 19346011 · DOI:10.1016/j.ijporl.2009.02.005

OBJECTIVES - We report on four cases of thyroglossal duct cyst (TGDC) excision using the Sistrunk procedure (resection of the mid-portion of the hyoid bone in continuity with a thyroglossal duct cyst tract) in which the airway was significantly injured. The patterns of injury, their treatment and outcomes as well as preventative measures are detailed.

METHODS - Retrospective analysis of four patients referred to a tertiary medical center after sustaining injury to the cricothyroid membrane and/or thyroid cartilages while undergoing a Sistrunk excision of a TGDC.

RESULTS - Three patients were repaired after a delay; one patient was immediately repaired. All four patients required application of cartilage grafts, and all ultimately required tracheotomy. Decannulation was achieved in the four patients after an average of 4.5 months, and none suffered from aspiration. Voice outcomes were poor in 3/4.

CONCLUSIONS - The Sistrunk procedure has been advocated for TGDC excision, citing a low recurrence rate. However, if the thyroid cartilage is mistaken for the hyoid bone, significant airway injury occurs. Urgent laryngotracheoplasty is indicated, but poor voice outcomes are anticipated.

SIGNIFICANCE - Surgeons employing the Sistrunk procedure to excise TGDC must remain oriented to midline cervical anatomy, particularly as the hyoid my override the thyroid notch in young children, placing the larynx at risk for significant injury.

MeSH Terms (12)

Child Child, Preschool Female Follow-Up Studies Humans Laryngeal Muscles Larynx Male Retrospective Studies Thyroglossal Cyst Thyroid Cartilage Tracheotomy

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