Papillary carcinoma in a thyroglossal duct remnant — a review of thyroglossal surgery in a regional centre in the West of Ireland

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A review of thyroglossal duct remnants presenting to a regional centre in the West of Ireland was undertaken. Over a 15 yr period, 25 patients were operated on for duct remnants. The mean age was 19.6 yr and ranged from 3 to 68 yr. There were 16 (64 per cent) males and 9 (36 per cent) females. Seventeen (68 per cent) patients were less than 20 years at the time of surgery. Four patients presented with a sinus and the remainder with a cystic lesion. Two patients experienced recurrent disease. One patient, a 41 yr old female, had a papillary carcinoma of a thyroglossal cyst. There were no clinical features distinguishing this patient from those with benign cystic remnants of the thyroglossal duct. The possibility of carcinoma in older patients, in particular females, presenting with thyroglossal cysts emphasises the importance of performing a formal Sistrunk's operation. It reduces the risk of recurrence of the cyst and may reduce the risk of recurrence of the tumour as the duct may provide a route for the spread of tumour.

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