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Branchial Sinus

What are branchial sinus?

In paediatric surgery, a branchial sinus refers to an abnormal tract or passage that forms in the neck due to a developmental abnormality of the branchial arches.

What causes branchial sinus?

Branchial sinuses are believed to result from the incomplete closure or persistence of certain embryonic structures known as branchial arches or clefts. These structures normally form during early fetal development and typically disappear as the fetus develops. However, if they persist, a branchial sinus or cyst may form.

What are the symptoms of branchial sinus?

Branchial sinuses may not cause symptoms initially and may only be identified when an infection occurs. 


Common symptoms of a branchial sinus or infected cyst include:

  • Pain, redness, and swelling in the area of the sinus or cyst.

  • Drainage of pus or fluid from an opening in the neck.

  • Recurrent infections or abscess formation.

  • Enlargement or tenderness of nearby lymph nodes.

  • In some cases, a visible or palpable mass or lump in the neck.

How to treat branchial sinus?

The treatment approach for branchial sinus in paediatric surgery often involves surgical intervention to remove the sinus tract or infected cyst. 

Treatment options include:

  • Antibiotics: If there is an active infection or abscess, antibiotics may be prescribed to control the infection.

  • Surgical Excision: Surgical removal of the branchial sinus or infected cyst is typically the recommended treatment. The procedure aims to completely remove the sinus tract and any associated infected or abnormal tissue. In some cases, additional imaging studies may be performed prior to surgery to better visualize the extent of the abnormality.

  • Follow-up Care: After surgery, regular follow-up visits may be required to monitor healing, ensure proper wound care, and assess for any signs of recurrence.

It's important to consult with a qualified healthcare professional, such as a paediatric surgeon or otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist), to assess the specific circumstances of the branchial sinus in a paediatric patient. They will provide appropriate treatment recommendations based on their expertise and the individual situation.

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