Surgical treatment options will be discussed if a branchial anomaly is identified in your child. In certain circumstances, a treatment to close off the internal opening without need for an incision may be offered. This endoscopic treatment option is only available in a small portion of branchial anomalies.
In other cases, treatment involves an incision in the skin and removal of the tract and cyst. A portion of the thyroid gland may need to be removed if the branchial anomaly goes through this gland. Because the tracts can extend from very low to very high in the side of the neck, a second small incision may be necessary to avoid a long single incision. The skin incisions are then closed with stitches that dissolve. A skin glue or a skin bandage will then be applied to add additional protection. Sometimes a small drainage tube will be placed to prevent fluid buildup beneath the skin.
Your child will likely be monitored in the hospital overnight and be able to return home the following day. There are small risks to the procedure including injury to nerves and blood vessels in the neck, infection at the site of surgery or scar tissue formation. These risks will be discussed in more detail at the time of your child’s clinic visit.