Cysts and fistulas of the lateral part of the neck

What you need to know

Cysts are liquid-filled swellings and fistulas are a variable topographic path with a skin opening in the neck.
The cysts may remain visible and palpable for a varying period of time and may be revealed at a variable age in the form of a swelling of the neck.
Fistulas are present from birth and may have been ignored because of their very small size or their location only in the pharynx.
There is never a spontaneous disappearance. The main risk is the occurrence of an infection resulting in a red swelling on the neck associated or not with a flow of purulent liquid on the skin. Evolution to an abscess is possible. The risk of cancerisation is exceptional.
The purpose of the operation is to remove the cyst and the entire path when the fistula exists. Abstention with supervision can be proposed temporarily, but it is always preferable to perform excision before superinfection. The risk of superinfection disappears after the procedure if there is no recurrence.


Duration of hospital stay
1 – 3 days.
The average length of hospitalization is 1 to 3 days.
Average length of stay
1 week.
This procedure is performed under general anesthesia."

Cysts and fistulas of the lateral part of the neck
Cysts and fistulas of the lateral part of the neck

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Before the treatment

A regular preoperative check-up is carried out in accordance with the prescriptions.
The anaesthetist will be seen in consultation at the latest 48 hours before the operation.
No medication containing aspirin should be taken within 10 days of the procedure.
Your surgeon is at your disposal to answer any questions you may have.
Do not forget to report if you have ever had any allergic reactions, especially drug-related ones, and do not forget to bring the medical documents in your possession (blood test, radiological examination, prescription, etc.) with you when you consult with the anaesthetist and when you are in hospital.
The average length of hospitalization is 1 to 3 days.
This procedure is performed under general anesthesia.

What does it involve?

The skin incision is made opposite to the cyst. The removal of a fistula pathway may require the surgeon to make several cervical incisions depending on the length and path of the fistula.
Suction drainage is often left in place for a few days.
In the case of pharyngeal fistula, it may be necessary to leave a nasogastric tube in place for nourishment.
At the end of the procedure, a bandage is left in place in the suture areas.

Cysts and fistulas of the lateral part of the neck
Cysts and fistulas of the lateral part of the neck

After the treatment

The discharge will be considered according to the installation of a drainage system.
Edema and laterocervical bruising are common and the pain depends on the extent of the procedure and the existing fistula.
It is necessary to plan a break from work or school activities of 1 to 3 weeks.
Resumption of sporting activities is usually possible in the third week.
It is necessary to come back for consultation about a week (between the 7th and 10th day) after the operation.
Swallowing and rotating the neck can be painful for a few days.

About Cysts and fistulas of the lateral part of the neck

It is assessed within 6 to 12 months after the intervention.
Scars remain red or pink during this healing period and their evolution varies according to the thickness of the skin and the age of the patient.
Any surgical procedure, even if performed under conditions of competence and safety in accordance with current scientific and regulatory data in force, involves a risk of complications.
In the case of a large or superinfected cyst, a complex fistula pathway that has already been operated on, there may sometimes be significant bleeding requiring a change in surgical technique or a nerve complication that causes mobility disorders of the shoulder tongue or facial region.
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MEDICAIM organizes your entire stay for you: post-operative nursing care, biological follow-up, therapeutic, nutritional and psychological support.
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