Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics

, Volume 298, Issue 1, pp 51–58 | Cite as

What are the prevalence, characteristics and significance of fetal lateral neck cysts detected in an early anatomical scan?

  • Rivka Sukenik Halevy
  • Jordana Mashiach Friedler
  • Anat Hershko-Klement
  • Tal Biron-Shental
  • Ofer Markovitch
  • Ronnie Tepper
Maternal-Fetal Medicine



This study evaluated the association of fetal lateral neck cysts (FLNC) with adverse pregnancy outcomes, in relation to specific sonographic characteristics and co-existing findings.


Pregnancies in which FLNC were detected by a single examiner in early anatomical scans (14–16 weeks) were included. Data regarding the pregnancy and its outcome were retrieved from telephone-based questionnaires, patient charts and from the examiner’s reports.


654 cases of FLNC were detected among 9446 early anatomical scans (6.9%). Complete data regarding 219 pregnancies were available. FLNC were significantly more prevalent in males (65.2%). The prevalence of heart malformations was 3.2% [all were non-isolated cases or with abnormal nuchal translucency (NT) and/or nuchal fold (NF)]. Amniocentesis performed in 165 pregnancies was abnormal in 1.2%. Among 206 children born from this cohort, adverse medical outcomes were reported in 5.3%. The likelihood of adverse pregnancy outcomes was significantly higher in non-isolated cases and in cases with abnormal NT or NF. Sonographic characteristics such as cyst size and bilateral findings were not linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes.


Isolated FLNC are benign findings which do not require additional work up. FLNC with additional sonographic abnormalities are associated with a significantly increased risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes.


Lateral neck cyst Aneuploidy Heart malformations Pregnancy outcome 



The authors thank Faye Schreiber for English editing.

Author contributions

RSH—Protocol and project development, data collection and management, data analysis, manuscript writing and editing. JMF—Data collection. AKH—Data analysis. TB-S—Manuscript editing. OM—Manuscript editing. RT—Project development, data collection, manuscript editing.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

No written informed consent was required by the IRB committee prior to performing the telephone-based questionnaire.

Human and animal rights statement

This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.

Conflict of interest

All authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of OB-GYNMeir Medical CenterKfar SabaIsrael
  2. 2.Genetics Institute, Meir Medical CenterKfar SabaIsrael
  3. 3.Sackler School of MedicineTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael
  4. 4.Ultrasound UnitMeir Medical CenterKfar SabaIsrael

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