LATERAL cervical or branchial cysts and sinus tracts were first described by Hunczowski1 in 1789. Ascherson2 in 1832 suggested a relationship between the branchial apparatus and these cysts and sinus tracts on the lateral surface of the neck anterior to the sternomastoid muscle. In 1864 Hensinger3 introduced the term branchial fistula in describing these lesions.
Much speculation and a great deal of painstaking study have been expended in attempting to clarify the embryologic origin of these branchial lesions. Rabl4 in the latter part of the nineteenth century deduced that these lateral cervical cysts and sinus tracts were resultant from defects of the second branchial cleft, and this view is today held by many. Wenglowski5 in 1912 published the results of an exhaustive investigation of this subject covering a period of five years, during which time he studied 246 cadavers and 75 embryos. His observations indicated