A 15-year-old girl presented with a cystic swelling since birth behind the ramus of the right mandible and diagnosed clinically as a dermoid cyst. Surgical exploration, however, showed that it was closely related to the external auditory canal, with an extension running medially behind the parotid gland and ending in the bony middle ear. The facial nerve was closely related to the deep part of the cyst. Such an anatomical position indicates that this was a first branchial cleft anomaly. Surgical excision of the cyst was performed.