Branchial sinus of the piriform fossa: reappraisal of third and fourth branchial anomalies.Laryngoscope. 2007 Nov; 117(11):1920-4.L
The objective of this study was to review clinical and embryologic aspects of third and fourth branchial anomalies.
We reviewed the institutional and departmental databases at our institution to identify all cases of third and fourth branchial anomalies encountered from 1992 to 2006. All patient records were examined with respect to demographics, clinical history, and radiologic and pathologic reports.
We identified 17 cases of third and fourth branchial anomalies, the largest series of its kind reported to date. The lesions were predominantly left sided, all presenting with neck infection. Fistula formation was iatrogenic, secondary to incision and drainage. Preoperative direct laryngoscopy always revealed a pit within the apex of the piriform fossa. Surgical excision involved ipsilateral thyroidectomy as the lesion passed through the thyroid gland. No lesions following the classical course of a either a third or fourth branchial anomaly were identified.
The clinical presentation of branchial sinuses arising from the piriform fossa is more in keeping with derivation from the thymopharyngeal duct (of the third pouch) than the hypothetical course of third and fourth branchial fistulae.