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Case Reports in Otolaryngology
Volume 2014, Article ID 912347, 3 pages
Case Report

Epithelial Cyst in the Posterior Triangle of the Neck: Atypical Branchial Cyst or Cystic Lymph Node Metastasis?

1Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, University Hospital of Zurich, Frauenklinikstrasse 24, 8091 Zurich, Switzerland
2Institute of Surgical Pathology, University Hospital of Zurich, Schmelzbergstrasse 12, 8091 Zurich, Switzerland

Received 14 October 2013; Accepted 16 December 2013; Published 12 January 2014

Academic Editors: N. G. Iyer, M. T. Kalcioglu, and H.-S. Lin

Copyright © 2014 Domenic Vital et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We report the case of a 66-year-old man with a cervical neck mass located behind the left sternocleidomastoid muscle. To exclude malignancy, a full workup, including clinical, radiological, and cytological examination, was performed but failed to provide a definitive diagnosis. Histological analysis following excisional biopsy revealed a benign epithelial cyst, consistent with an atypically located branchial cyst. We describe an approach to the management of these neck masses and discuss several theories of the etiology of branchial cysts and how they may come to be abnormally located.