Pathology of the Pleura and Mediastinum

2018 Edition
| Editors: Timothy Craig Allen, Saul Suster

Congenital Thymic Cyst

  • Luka BrcicEmail author
Reference work entry


Unilocular or multilocular epithelial lined cavity with thymic tissue in the wall of the cyst. They are benign and found in the neck and mediastinum, following embryologic movement of the thymus from the mandibular angle to the manubrium of the sternum.

Clinical Features

  • Incidence

    Congenital thymic cysts are very rare.

  • Age

    Congenital thymic cyst can occur at any age. When present in children, they occur as masses in the neck, while in adults, they are mostly asymptomatic, unless there is compression of some organs or structures nearby.

  • Sex

    There is no predilection for either sex.

  • Site

    Congenital thymic cysts occur in the neck and mediastinum, usually anterosuperior.

  • Treatment

    Surgical excision if symptomatic.

  • Outcome

    Since congenital thymic cysts are benign lesions, surgery is curative, unless malignant neoplasm is present when additional treatment is needed.


Congenital thymic cysts are usually unilocular but can be also multilocular. If in the neck region they...

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References and Further Reading

  1. Leong, A. S., & Brown, J. H. (1984). Malignant transformation in a thymic cyst. American Journal of Surgical Pathology, 8, 471–475.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Scharifker, D. (2006). True thymic hyperplasia associated with a unilocular thymic cyst: An unusual combination not previously reported. Annals of Diagnostic Pathology, 10, 32–35.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Shimosato, Y., Mukai, K., & Matsuno, Y. (2010). Thymic cyst. In S. G. Silverberg (Ed.), AFIP Atlas of tumor pathology. Tumors of the mediastinum (pp. 262–263). Washington, DC: American Registry of Pathology.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Pathology, Medical University of GrazGrazAustria