Overview of Neck Masses
What are neck masses?Neck masses are common problems in infants and children. Some neck masses are congenital (present at birth) and result from abnormal formation during embryonic development. Many neck masses appear with an upper respiratory infection such as a cold or sinus infection. Some are not found until they become enlarged and painful from infection. Although a neck mass can involve other structures in the head and neck area, most are benign (non-cancerous). Cancerous neck masses are rare in young infants and children, but occasionally a mass is diagnosed as Hodgkin or non-Hodgkin disease - both cancers of the lymphatic system.
Your child's physician will consider many factors when diagnosing a neck mass, including the following:
- the age of child
- how long the mass has been present, and whether other masses are present
- family history of masses
- any prior or ongoing illnesses, ear infections, and/or animal bites
- careful visualization and palpation (feeling with the fingers) of the child's neck
- identifying the specific location of the mass
- checking for movement of the neck and the mass itself
- observing for swelling, redness, warmth, tenderness, drainage, or fluid in the mass
The information on this Web page is provided for educational purposes. You understand and agree that this information is not intended to be, and should not be used as, a substitute for medical treatment by a health care professional. You agree that Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital is not making a diagnosis of your condition or a recommendation about the course of treatment for your particular circumstances through the use of this Web page. You agree to be solely responsible for your use of this Web page and the information contained on this page. Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital, its officers, directors, employees, agents, and information providers shall not be liable for any damages you may suffer or cause through your use of this page even if advised of the possibility of such damages.