Removal of Thyroglossal Duct Cyst “Sistrunk Procedure”

General Information:
A thyroglossal duct cyst or sinus tract is a remnant of the thyroid gland, a gland within the mid-portion of the neck. Removal of a thyroglossal duct cyst or sinus tract, also known as a ‘sistrunk procedure’ after Doctor Sistrunk, involves a neck incision with dissection up to a small bone in the upper neck called the hyoid bone. The hyoid bone is closely connected to the thyroglossal duct tract as it runs up to the deep substance of the tongue; therefore, the mid-portion of the hyoid bone is removed with a small amount of tongue tissue. The wound is closed with absorbable suture, followed by skin closure with steri-strips (small narrow strips of tape). Patients may be observed overnight in the hospital. 

What to Expect:
Most adults require five days to recover from the surgery. Swallowing will be uncomfortable and may feel “different” due to removing the mid-portion of the hyoid bone. If a drain were placed in the operating room, it would be removed the morning after the surgery. Following dressing removal, the wound is left open to heal. There are no sutures to remove; the skin incision will have narrow steri-strips of tape in place. Steri-strips will dry and curl, the edges of which can be trimmed. Steri-strips that remain in place beyond a week can be removed safely at home. Avoid direct sunlight exposure to the wound for six months following surgery, as this will cause excessive pink colouration. Gentle massage will help the incision line soften and thin. Monitor for signs of worsening redness and drainage from the incision and contact the office immediately if this occurs.

Adults will have moderate throat pain after surgery. For the first day after surgery, use the prescribed pain medication on a regular basis (every 4-6hours) to prevent pain from preventing oral intake. DO NOT use aspirin for 2 weeks before or after surgery as it may cause bleeding.

Plenty of fluids and a soft diet are required after surgery; mild juices (apple), sports drinks, iceblocks, pudding, yoghurt and ice cream.  There are no food restrictions.

A low-grade fever commonly occurs for several days after surgery. If your temperature reaches 38 degrees, please contact the office; otherwise, continue with your oral intake and pain medications.

Avoiding heavy lifting is recommended for about 14 days after surgery. Activity may be increased slowly, with a return to work after eating well, no longer using narcotic pain medication, and sleeping through the night.

Follow-up & Contact Information:
A follow-up appointment has been booked for you.

If you have any questions, please contact the Practice Manager at Auckland ENT Group on 09 522 2226 or email

If you have concerns about breathing or pain, call 111 or go to your nearest Accident and Emergency Department.

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