European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology

, Volume 264, Issue 8, pp 913–916 | Cite as

A combined third and fourth branchial arch anomaly: clinical and embryological implications

  • H. Mehrzad
  • C. Georgalas
  • C. Huins
  • N. S. Tolley
Head and Neck


Embryological abnormalities of the branchial apparatus present an interesting diagnostic and surgical challenge. Thymic cysts are a rare form of branchial apparatus anomaly, resulting from abnormal development of the third pharyngeal pouch. We present two cases of a thymic cyst coexisting with a non recurrent inferior laryngeal nerve (NRILN), two anomalies that to our knowledge have not been associated previously. A possible embryological explication for this double abnormality is discussed, while the clinical implications of this association are presented.


Thymic cyst Third pharyngeal pouch cyst Non recurrent inferior laryngeal nerve 



Our thanks to Professor Firth (anatomy department, Charing Cross Hospital, London) for his kind contribution.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Mehrzad
    • 1
    • 2
  • C. Georgalas
    • 1
  • C. Huins
    • 1
  • N. S. Tolley
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of OtolaryngologySt. Mary’s HospitalPaddington, LondonUK
  2. 2.Southgate, LondonUK

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