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ent4kids - Murali Mahadevan

Private Service, ENT/ Head & Neck Surgery, Paediatrics

Head & Neck Masses and Birthmarks

In children growths, lumps, tumours or masses on the head and neck are largely benign (noncancerous) and rarely cancerous and these can originate from in the tonsils, lymph glands, larynx, pharynx, thyroid gland, salivary gland, mouth, neck, face or skull.

Tests to diagnose a mass may include:

  • Full clinical history and examination of the upper aerodigestive tract is mandatory
  • Ultrasound exam is often the first line as it is non invasive and children don't need a GA (general anaesthetic)
  • 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.


Enlarged Lymph Nodes
Lymph nodes in the neck often become swollen when the body is fighting an infection. This is often the commonest mass in children.

Benign Lesions
Noncancerous masses such as cysts are often removed surgically to prevent them from pressing on nerves and other structures in the head and neck.

  • dermoid cyst
  • thyroglossal duct cyst
  • branchial cyst
  • pilomatrixoma
  • preauricular cysts
  • salivary gland swelling

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This page was last updated at 2:57PM on August 25, 2021.