Emerg Med J 20:103-104 doi:10.1136/emj.20.1.103
  • Case report

First branchial cleft anomaly presenting as a recurrent post-auricular abscess

  1. M A Siddiq
  1. Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, St George's Hospital, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Mr M A Siddiq, 125 Broadway, Walsall, West Midlands WS1 3HB;
  • Accepted 14 June 2002


Embryological anomalies of the first branchial cleft are uncommonly encountered. They usually present as cysts, swellings, or fistulas in the pre-auricular or post-auricular area or high in the neck, which may become infected.

Failure to recognise these unusual cases may result in misdiagnosis, inadequate treatment, and subsequent recurrence. Further definitive surgery may thus be complicated. A case is reported of a patient who attended accident and emergency on three occasions with an infected post-auricular cyst, which was treated by incision and drainage. It was subsequently found to be a first branchial cleft anomaly.