INTRODUCTION: Our aim in this study was to evaluate the CT and MRI findings of branchial cleft cysts (BCCs).
METHODS: The demographic characteristics of patients who were found to have BCC in their neck radiological examinations were evaluated retrospectively. The dimensions and localizations of the BCCs, and the presence of septation and ruptures in the cysts were examined. Lesion density on CT and T1- and T2-weighted signal properties compared to the sternocleidomastoid muscle on MRI of the lesions, as well as their contrast-enhancement patterns, were evaluated. First BCCs were subclassified based on Work classification system while Bailey classification was used to subclassify second BCCs.
RESULTS: BCC was observed in 16 cases (10 female and 6 male). The mean age of the cases with BCC was 28.4±15.0 years. Fifteen of the BCCs were second BCC while one was first BCC. The only first BCC was Type 1 pattern based on Work classification. According to Bailey classification, 13 of the second BCCs had Type 2, one had Type 1 and one had Type 3 pattern. BCC diameters varied from 12 to 60 mm. Mean density of the BCCs was 33.5±12.6 HU. On MRI, BCCs were mostly hyperintense on T1- and T2-weighted images. Peripheral enhancement was detected in 12 BCCs. Septation was observed in three BCCs while one of them was ruptured.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: BCCs are more frequently observed in female and on the right side of the neck. They mostly have second BCC pattern. Radiologically, BCCs are cysts with different densities which can have peripheral enhancement, and they rarely have septations and ruptures.