Thyroglossal Cyst Removal

Do not eat or drink anything for at least 8 hours before your procedure. Ask your caregiver before taking any medicine.


  • All medicines you are taking, including, herbs, over-the-counter medicines, and creams.

  • Previous problems you have had with the use of anesthetics, including local anesthetics.

  • Any allergies you have.

  • Any history of blood clots or bleeding disorders you have.

  • Health problems you have.

  • Whether you smoke or have smoked in the past.

  • Whether you have recently had a cold or infection.

  • Previous surgeries you have had.

  • Possibility of pregnancy, if this applies.


  • Bleeding.

  • Pain that continues.

  • Infection.

  • Damage to nerves that affect your tongue or voice box (rare).

  • Scarring on your neck.

  • A recurring cyst.


Your caregiver will perform a medical evaluation. During the evaluation, you will be asked questions about your medical history. Your caregiver may also have tests performed to obtain more information about your cyst. These tests may include:

  • Blood tests to check the function of your thyroid gland. If you have an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) at the time of surgery, complications can occur. Blood tests will ensure that your thyroid gland is working normally.

  • An imaging test that uses sound waves to take pictures of your cyst (ultrasonography).

  • Thyroid uptake scan. This test uses radioactive iodine to show where thyroid tissue is located. On rare occasions the thyroglossal cyst may contain the only thyroid tissue in the body.

  • An X-ray exam that uses a computer to take a detailed picture (computed tomography, CT scan) to examine the cyst and surrounding tissue.

Just before your procedure, you will speak with an anesthesiologist. This is the person who will administer the medicine that is used so you will not feel pain during your surgery (anesthetic). The anesthesiologist will review with you what you should expect before and after the period while you are asleep (anesthesia). Surgery to remove thyroglossal cysts requires medicine that puts you to sleep during the procedure (general anesthetic).


Surgery to remove a thyroglossal cyst usually takes 30 to 60 minutes. Often, you will be able to go home the day of your procedure.

Small monitors will be placed on your body. They are used to check your heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen level. An intravenous needle will be inserted into a vein in your arm or hand. Medicine will flow directly into your body through this needle. You might be given medicine to help you relax, and then you will be given the general anesthetic.

Once you are asleep, the surgeon will make a small cut (incision) in your neck, over the cyst. The cyst will be removed. The middle part of the small bone attached to the tongue (hyoid bone) will be taken out. This bone is in the area where the cyst formed. Removing a section of this bone prevents the development of another cyst. If any part of the thyroglossal duct remains, it will be taken out. A tube may be inserted in the incision to drain excess blood from the wound. The surgeon will close the incision with small stitches. The stitches usually will dissolve once the wound has healed. A small medicated bandage will be placed over the incision.


  • You will stay in a recovery area until the anesthetic has worn off.

  • Your blood pressure and pulse will be checked frequently.

  • You may continue to receive fluids through the intravenous needle until you are ready to leave the hospital.

  • Some pain after this surgery is normal, especially when swallowing. You will probably be given pain medicine while in the recovery area. If a drain was inserted during surgery, you may need to stay overnight in the hospital.