Tornwaldt's (Thornwaldt's) Bursa / Cyst
This page was last updated: August 1, 2012

Thornwaldt's Bursa (bursa pharyngea,   pharyngeal bursa,   bursa pharyngealis; called also Luschka's bursa, Tornwaldt's bursa, and Tornwaldt's cyst) is  an inconstant blind sac located above the adenoids in the midline of the posterior wall of the nasopharynx; it represents persistence of an embryonic communication between the anterior tip of the notochord and the roof of the pharynx (a remnant of Rathke's pouch).
Mid-sagittal MRI picture, showing an asymptomatic  Thornwaldt's cyst in the roof of the nasopharynx.
Tornwaldt or Thornwaldt?

The two spellings appear to be acceptable in the medical litterature.

Named after Gustav Ludwig Tornwaldt (or Thornwaldt), German physician, 1843–1910. (Dorland's Medical Dictionary)

Stanley Jablonski's The Illustrated Dictionary of Eponymic Syndromes and Diseases and Their Synonyms refers to a German publication:

Tornwaldt, G. L.: Über die Bedeutung der Bursa pharyngea für die Erkennung und Behandlung gewisser Nasenrachenraum-Krankheiten. Weisbaden, Bergmann, 1885

Mid-sagittal MRI picture showing a large pear-shaped structure in the vault of the nasopharynx.













The fluid in this nasopharyngeal cyst lights up on the T2 weighted axial MRI slice. Incidentally, this patient also has left maxillary sinusitis.
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