Case report: A branchial cleft anomaly presenting as an oropharyngeal mass

December 15, 2011
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Branchial anomalies are common cervical pathologic entities encountered in the field of otolaryngology and are typical in the pediatric and young adult populations. In most cases, these anomalies present as a cyst, sinus, or fistula in a rather stereotypical fashion. When a branchial anomaly deviates from the classic presentation, an improper diagnosis and inadequate management are more likely to occur, leading to an increased recurrence rate. We present a case of a 6-year-old girl with an incidental finding of a right posterior oropharyngeal wall mass, distinctly separate from the tonsillar fossa, which was found on pathologic analysis to be a branchial cleft anomaly. The theories regarding the pathogenesis of branchial anomalies are presented, along with other cases of atypical branchial anomalies.

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