Identification of a branchial cleft anomaly via handheld point-of-care ultrasound

A. Brad Hall1, Shannon Hasara2, Phillip Coker3

Affiliation and address for correspondence
J Ultrason 2022; 22: e67–e69
DOI: 10.15557/JoU.2022.0012

Aim of the study: Branchial anomalies result from incomplete obliteration of the branchial arch structures during embryogenesis. Second branchial arch anomalies are commonly found on the lower third of the neck, with an opening at the anterior border of the sternocleidomastoid muscle, and may drain secretions or purulent material. This case demonstrates the use of handheld point-of-care ultrasound to aid in the diagnosis of a branchial anomaly. Case description: The patient presented with a “hole” in the neck with intermittent drainage from the site. A 2 mm defect in the skin was noted anterior to the sternocleidomastoid muscle. A handheld ultrasound system was used to identify a well-defined, hypoechoic, cyst-like structure. Given the history, physical findings, and point-of-care ultrasound imaging, the diagnosis of a second branchial cleft sinus was made. Conclusions: The use of point-of-care ultrasound and knowledge of the sonographic characteristics of these lesions can assist the physician in the diagnosis of branchial arch anomalies.

ultrasonography; ultrasound imaging; branchioma; branchial cleft cyst