Thyroglossal Duct Infections and Surgical Outcomes

Daniel J. Ostlie, Sathyaprasad C. Burjonrappa, Charles L. Snyder, Jennifer Watts, J. Patrick Murphy, George K. Gittes, Walter A. Andrews, Ronald J. Sharp, George W. Holcomb, A. Coran, T. Buchmiller-Crair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Purpose: Thyroglossal duct cysts (TGDC) are the most common head and neck congenital anomalies in children and often present as infected neck masses. The authors reviewed their experience with TGDC to determine if preoperative infection was related to postoperative complications, including recurrence and postoperative infection. Methods: The medical records of 99 patients undergoing excision of TGDC from January 1991 to July 2002 were reviewed. Factors thought to be associated with recurrence (age, history of infection, drainage, abscess, and operative procedure) were analyzed. Results: Ninety-nine patients made up the study group. The mean age at operation was 5.0 years (range, 6 months to 16 years) with a male to female ratio of 1.6:1. TGDC recurred in 12.1% (12 of 99) of these patients. There was no gender difference for those with and without recurrence. The presence of an abscess or cellulitis preoperatively (22 of 99 patients) did not correlate with recurrence (NS), In addition, postoperative infection occurred in 13 of 99 patients and also was independent of preoperative infection. However, post-operative infection clearly was associated with an increased risk of TGDC recurrence. Seven of 87 patients without recurrence had a postoperative infection, whereas 6 of 12 of those who had a recurrence had a postoperative infection (P < .001). The mean follow-up was 3.7 years and was comparable for the 2 groups (recurrence v. resolution). Twelve patients successfully underwent a second procedure for recurrence. Conclusions: In this large series of TGDC, preoperative infection occurred in approximately 1 of 5 patients and was not predictive of recurrence. Although postoperative infection did not correlate with the presence of preoperative infection, it was clearly associated with a statistically significant incidence of recurrent disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)396-399
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004


  • Infection
  • Recurrence
  • Thyroglossal cysts
  • Thyroglossal duct

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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