Spontaneous Resolution of Fourth Branchial Fistula Following Thyroid Surgery: Case Report


Fourth branchial pouch anomalies represent one of the rarest types of all branchial apparatus anomalies. They appear in the first lifedecade in a form of recurrent left-sided neck masses which demands surgical treatment. Accidental finding, appearance later in life and spontaneous resolving are really rare. We present a case of a 43-year-old man with accidental finding of asymptomatic fourth pouch cyst and fistula following follicular thyroid cancer surgery. The day after the surgery, suction bottle was filled with little white crumbs and the wound started to suppurate. Barium swallow revealed the presence of a fistulous canal that arose from the left pyriform sinus. Meanwhile, the pathologist confirmed the presence of a lateral neck cyst within this thyroid lobe. The patient was operated on but fistulous canal was not visualized. In the meantime, wound discharge ceased spontaneously. At 1-year follow up, the patient was still well and free from any symptoms. These anomalies may manifest not only in childhood but may stay asymptomatic for a long time. It seems that the fistula can resolve spontaneously and that conservative approach is an alternative to multiple surgical procedures.

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Correspondence to Selma Hodzic-Redzic.

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Bumber, B., Hodzic-Redzic, S., Prgomet, D. et al. Spontaneous Resolution of Fourth Branchial Fistula Following Thyroid Surgery: Case Report. Indian J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 71, 879–882 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12070-019-01588-z

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  • Pyriform sinus
  • Cysts
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Follicular
  • Neck
  • Barium