BACKGROUND: A thyroglossal duct cyst is the most common form of congenital anomaly in the neck. Surgical removal is very effective. However, in some cases, a cyst recurs. The purpose of this study was to identify factors that predispose to recurrence of a thyroglossal duct cyst.
METHODS: A retrospective study was conducted of consecutive patients who underwent surgical resection for histologically confirmed thyroglossal duct cysts between 1998 and 2013 in a tertiary referral center.
RESULTS: Two hundred seven patients were included. The overall recurrence rate was 9.7%. The most important factor predicting recurrence was the type of resection: recurrence rate was 5.3% after the Sistrunk procedure, and 55.6% after plain excision (p < .001). The only other factor that was significantly associated with chance of recurrence was postoperative infection.
CONCLUSION: The Sistrunk procedure is the treatment of choice for thyroglossal duct cysts because it yields low recurrence and morbidity. Postoperative infections, rather than preoperative infections, are associated with recurrence.