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Tornwaldt Cyst


Clarence T. Sasaki

, MD, Yale University School of Medicine

Last full review/revision Jan 2020| Content last modified Jan 2020
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Tornwaldt cyst is a rare, noncancerous (benign) cyst in the midline of the nasopharynx that may become infected.

Tornwaldt cyst forms in the nasopharynx, which includes the area from the back of the nasal passage to above the soft palate. The cyst may become infected, causing pus with a foul taste and odor, blockage of the eustachian tube (tube connecting the middle ear with the nasal passages), and sore throat. (See figure Locating the Nasopharynx.)

Locating the Nasopharynx

Locating the Nasopharynx

To diagnose Tornwaldt cyst, doctors insert a flexible viewing tube through the nose (called a nasopharyngoscope). Doctors confirm the Tornwaldt cyst diagnosis with imaging tests, such as a computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Surgery is done to drain the cyst or remove it.

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