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Joseph Junewick, MD FACR
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Thyroglossal Duct Cyst

Case Detail

Anatomy: Neck-Face
Joseph Junewick, MD FACR
Diagnostic Category: Developmental or Congenital
Created: over 7 years ago
Updated: over 7 years ago
Tags: PEDS
Modality/Study Types: MR
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2 month old male with tongue mass.

Case Images


Thyroglossal Duct Cyst


MR – Sagittal T2, axial T1 and axial and coronal post-gadolinium T1 images of the neck show a round nonenhancing T1 hypointense and T2 hyperintense mass in the posterior midline tongue and a normal thyroid gland.


The thyroid gland begins to develop in the 3rd week of fetal life as a median outgrowth from the floor of the primitive pharynx. This thyroid primordium originates at the foramen cecum in the base of the tongue. The primitive thyroid descends from the tongue into the neck and passes anterior to the developing hyoid bone and laryngeal cartilages. The anlage of the gland reaches its final position in the inferior part of the neck anterior to the thyrohyoid membrane by the 7th week of gestation. During its migration, the anlage of the thyroid gland is connected to the tongue by the thyroglossal duct. This duct normally involutes by the 8th–10th gestational week. The site of the original opening of the thyroglossal duct persists as the foramen cecum of the tongue, with the inferior end of the canal becoming the pyramidal lobe of the thyroid gland. If any portion of the thyroglossal duct persists, secretions from the epithelial lining may give rise to cystic lesions.


Koeller KK, Alamo L, Adair CF, et al. Congenital Cystic Masses of the Neck. Radiogrpahics (1999); 19:121-146.

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