A thyroglossal duct cyst is a lump or mass that forms in the center of the front of the neck and is the result of malformation in pregnancy. They are the most common cause of masses in the front of the neck.
It may have no symptoms for years, but most often occurs before age 20.
The cyst does move with swallowing since it is attached at the base of the tongue. Its swelling may cause pain in the neck or throat or problems with swallowing. The cyst may also become infected in adulthood, in which case antibiotics and a surgical solution will be sought.
Other possible causes of masses centered in the neck include enlarged lymph nodes, dermoid cysts, and some defect in the teeth.