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Images in thorax
Epiglottic cyst: rare, but potentially dangerous
  1. Urs Borner1,
  2. Basile Nicolas Landis2
  1. 1Department of Otorhinolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, Bern University Hospital, Inselspital, Bern, Switzerland
  2. 2Rhinology-Olfactology Unit, Department of Otorhinolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, University Hospital of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Basile N Landis, Rhinology-Olfactology Unit, Department of Otorhinolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, University Hospitals of Geneva, Rue Gabrielle Perret-Gentil 4, Geneva CH-1211, Switzerland; Basile.Landis{at}

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A 34-year-old woman presented with a foreign body feeling and slight sore throat without dysphagia or dyspnoea. The symptoms had occurred a week earlier. About 2 years earlier, she had similar symptoms, which resolved spontaneously. Examination showed a round mass located on the midline just behind the base of the tongue (figure 1A). Indirect laryngoscopy and CT scan confirmed the mass to be implanted on the tip of the epiglottis (figure 1B) and to be a super-infected cyst. Full resection improved all symptoms without recurrence for the past 5 years.

Figure 1

(A) Transoral view showing an unusual oropharyngeal mass in the midline, depicted by the white triangle. The black star indicates the uvula and the white star the right tonsil. (B) Sagittal computed scan of the upper airways showing the hypodense mass attached on the tip of the epiglottis (white arrow).

Cysts of the vallecula (space between the base of the tongue and epiglottis) are frequent, often asymptomatic and mostly do not require particular treatment. In contrast, epiglottic cysts harvest a bigger risk of impairing the airways, particularly when they are infected, and removal is advised.1


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  • Contributors Both authors contributed to manuscript writing and data acquisition.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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