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Endoscope-assisted versus conventional second branchial cleft cyst resection

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This study evaluates the feasibility of endoscope-assisted second branchial cleft cyst resection via retroauricular approach by comparing it with conventional cervical incision for removal of second branchial cleft cyst.


From January 2009 to December 2010, 25 patients were randomly assigned to the endoscope-assisted surgery group (13 patients) or the conventional surgery group (12 patients). The clinical characteristics of patients, operation time, operative bleeding volume, postoperative complications, and subjective satisfaction with incision scar checked by visual analog scale were compared between the groups, retrospectively.


All 13 second branchial cleft cyst resections were successfully performed endoscopically, and the wounds healed uneventfully. Endoscope-assisted surgery lasted 54.6 ± 6.3 min, and conventional surgery lasted 49.6 ± 6.9 min (P = 0.069). Degree of bleeding volume did not differ between the groups (P = 0.624). Mean patient satisfaction score was 9.2 ± 0.6 in the endoscope-assisted surgery group and 6.2 ± 0.8 in the controls (P < 0.001). All 13 patients in the endoscope-assisted surgery group were satisfied with their cosmetic results. One case showed temporary numbness around the earlobe that recovered within 1 month after surgery. No marginal nerve palsy occurred. No complications such as bleeding, salivary fistula, or paresis of the marginal mandibular branch occurred. All 25 patients were disease free with follow-up of 6–24 months (median 16 months).


Endoscope-assisted second branchial cleft cyst resection via retroauricular approach is a feasible technique. This procedure may serve as an alternative approach that allows an invisible incision and better cosmetic results.

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The authors thank Karl-Storz Corporation and Johnson & Johnson Corporation for providing surgical equipment.


Authors Liang-si Chen, Wei Sun, Pei-na Wu, Si-yi Zhang, Mi-mi Xu, Xiao-ning Luo, Jian-dong Zhan, and Xiaoming Huang have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

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Correspondence to Xiaoming Huang.

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Liang-si Chen and Wei Sun contributed equally to this work.

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Chen, Ls., Sun, W., Wu, Pn. et al. Endoscope-assisted versus conventional second branchial cleft cyst resection. Surg Endosc 26, 1397–1402 (2012).

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