Dr Nick McIvor - Head, Neck & Thyroid Surgeon, Otolaryngologist
Private Service, ENT/ Head & Neck Surgery
Growths, lumps, tumours or masses on the neck can be benign (noncancerous) or cancerous.
Tests to diagnose a mass may include:
- MRI – magnetic resonance imaging uses magnetic fields and radio waves to give images of internal organs and body structures
- CT Scan – computer tomography combines x-rays with computer technology to give cross-sectional images of the body
- Biopsy – a sample of tissue is taken for examination under a microscope.
Noncancerous masses such as cysts are often removed surgically to prevent them from pressing on nerves and other structures in the neck.
Cancerous masses spread to surrounding tissues and may be:
- Primary – they arise in the neck.
- Secondary – they have spread from a primary tumour in another part of the body.
Cancers may be treated by a combination of radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery.
All lymph nodes (bean-shaped glands that filter harmful agents picked up by the lymphatic system) from the collar bone to the jaw and from the front of the neck to the back are removed, along with the sternocleidomastoid muscle (moves the head from side to side), the spinal accessory nerve (involved in speech, swallowing and some head movements), the submandibular gland (one of the salivary glands) and the internal jugular vein.
Modified or Functional Neck Dissection
All lymph nodes (bean-shaped glands that filter harmful agents picked up by the lymphatic system) from the collar bone to the jaw and from the front of the neck to the back are removed.