Who was Sistrunk?

“Surgical knowledge depends on long practice, not speculation…”

Marcelo Malpighi

I often ask other surgeons or trainees that very question. I can be annoying like that. The radical excision of thyroglossal duct cyst is usually referred to as a Sistrunk procedure. So who was he? William Ellis Sistrunk was appointed professor of surgery at the Mayo Clinic in 1924. Sistrunk was a thyroid, breast and colon surgeon, a little bit like me. During his lifetime he was known as a pioneer of barbiturates in anaesthesia and was a world famous surgical parasitologist. Why we still refer to him in 2023 comes from his 1920 paper describing 31 patients at the Mayo Clinic undergoing surgery for thyroglossal duct cyst. Sistrunk stated “the cure for thyroglossal cyst is a failure unless the epithelium lined tract that leads from the cyst to the blind fossa is completely excised, including the central portion of the hyoid bone.” #endocrinebreastsurgery #letsmakelemonade

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