A Cross-sectional Evaluation of Outcomes of Pediatric Branchial Cleft Cyst Excision

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To examine complications following pediatric branchial cleft cyst excision by surgical specialty, demographics, and comorbid conditions.


A retrospective review of the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database was performed. Pediatric cases from January 1, 2015 through May 1, 2017 with a current procedural terminology code of 42810 (excision branchial cleft cyst or vestige, confined to skin and subcutaneous tissues) or 42815 (excision branchial cleft cyst, vestige, or fistula, extending beneath subcutaneous tissues and/or into the pharynx) were included. Statistical analysis was performed to assess associations between complications and surgical specialty, demographics, and comorbidities.


Of the 895 cases that met inclusion criteria, the median age was two years and there was an approximately equal number of males (46.8%) and females (53.2%). Forty-five patients (5.0%) experienced at least one 30-day complication, the most predominant of which was superficial surgical site infection. There was no statistically significant difference between complications and surgical specialty, complications and patient demographics, or complications and depth of excision. There was a statistically significant difference (p = 0.05) in the percentage of patients with a past medical history of developmental delay between those with at least one complication (11.1%) compared to those without any complications (4.2%).

Conclusion and relevance

Branchial cleft excision is a generally safe procedure across surgical specialties and patient demographics. There is an association between a history of developmental delay and 30-day postoperative complications.


This article was published in International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, Volume 119, pages 171-176.

The published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijporl.2019.01.030.

Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V.

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