The Sistrunk procedure consists of removing a thyroglossal duct cyst and surrounding tissues.

The rationale for this procedure is that cure of the thyroglossal duct cysts will be unsuccessful unless the epithelium-lined tract (extending from the cyst to the foramen cecum) is completely removed and that the attempt of dissecting the tract above the hyoid bone will, in many cases, result in breaking off the duct between the hyoid bone and the foramen cecum.


  • a transverse incision is made across the neck, at about the level of the hyoid bone.
  • the skin and the platysma muscle are reflected.
  • the cyst (usually located beneath the raphe connecting the sternohyoid muscles) is dissected free from the surrounding tissues up to the hyoid bone.
  • the muscles attached to the center of the hyoid bone are separated.
  • a portion of the hyoid bone is removed.
  • a core through the tissues from the hyoid bone to the foramen cecum is removed, removing the duct along with the tissue.
  • the opening into the mouth is closed and the genioglossus muscles are drawn together.
  • History and etymology

    Walter Ellis Sistrunk was an American surgeon who described this procedure and published it in the Annals of Surgery in 1920 .

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