New York Pediatric ENT Dr. Edward Shin Offers a Full Range of Neck Cyst Removal Services

Neck Cyst Treatment
TEL:646.943.7985310 14Th STREET, SIXTH FLOOR NEW YORK, NEW YORK, 10003FAX:212.979.4315

Neck Cyst & Neck Masses

You may see or feel a lump or mass on your child’s neck.  Most commonly, these lumps turn out to be nothing more than enlarged lymph nodes, which are generally harmless.  In some cases, however, neck masses may indicate serious problems and congenital conditions that require prompt treatment.  If your child develops a lump or mass on the neck, or exhibits signs of neck stiffness and pain, you should have him or her evaluated by a doctor.  At New York Sleep, Sinus & Thyroid Surgery Center, we are experts in the specialized anatomy of the neck and have experience in treating a wide range of neck masses in children. 

What causes lumps or masses in children’s necks?

There are many different causes for lumps and masses on children’s necks, including abscesses, infections, and certain congenital conditions. 

What are neck abscesses?

An abscess is a localized collection of pus surrounded by inflamed tissue.  Abscesses in the neck may be superficial (near the surface) or deep within the neck.  Superficial neck abscesses can usually be drained in a simple surgical procedure.  Deep neck abscesses are more complicated because of the need to make sure the breathing airway is kept open during the procedure.   After a neck abscess is drained, the collected pus is sent out for examination to determine the appropriate medication to treat the infection. 

What are congenital neck masses?

Congenital neck masses are masses that are present at birth, even if they are not noticeable until later in life.  There are a wide variety of congenital neck masses, and the treatment will vary depending on the type and extent of the mass.   The most common congenital neck masses include:

  • Branchial Cleft Cyst or Sinus.  Most commonly found in children 2-10 years old, these cysts form because of an error in the development of the neck.  They are often first discovered after an upper respiratory tract infection causes the mass to enlarge.  Treatment may include drainage of the cyst, treatment of the infection, and surgical removal of the cyst.  
  • Thyroglossal Duct Cyst.  Usually found in the center of the neck, these cysts are formed during fetal development when the thyroid gland moves from the base of the tongue into the neck.   Treatment may include drainage of the cyst if it is infected, treatment of the infection, and surgical removal of the cyst. 
  • Cystic Hygromas. Also known as lymphangiomas, these cysts form within the lymphatic system during fetal development.  Cystic hygromas grow steadily with the child and can involve muscles, blood vessels, and nerves within the neck, oral cavity, face, throat and chest. These cysts are non-cancerous, but because of their progressive growth, they can cause significant problems that can interfere with swallowing, speaking, and breathing functions.  Treatment may include medications to shrink or prevent further growth of the cysts, and surgery to remove or partially remove the cysts.
  • Hemangioma.  Formed before or shortly after birth, a hemangioma is an abnormal growth of blood vessels.  The appearance of a hemangioma can range from small red pimples on the skin, to large bluish red bulges on the head and eyelid, to soft bluish masses on the neck.  Hemangiomas usually grow through the age of two and then begin to shrink after that.  Treatment may include medications to shrink the tumor and surgery to remove all or part of the hemangioma. 
  • Dermoid Cyst. Most often found on the scalp, face or neck, a dermoid cyst is a slow-growing mass made up of skin, hair and glands trapped under the skin.  A simple surgical procedure is usually used to remove a dermoid cyst.

What is a deep neck infection?

A deep neck infection is an infection or abscess located deep under the skin near blood vessels, nerves and muscles of the neck.  Deep neck infections are often caused by more common infections, such as a dental abscesses or tonsillitis.  Deep neck infections can cause serious and life-threatening complications, including obstructed airways, formation of blood clots, and nerve damage.  Because of the possibility of breathing problems from an obstructed airway, deep neck infections are usually treated in the hospital with intravenous medication.   Treatment may also include the use of a breathing tube, tracheotomy, and surgical drainage.

Symptoms of a deep neck infection may include:

  • Difficulty moving the neck
  • Asymmetry in the neck or throat
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Drooling
  • Fever
  • Swelling in the neck
  • Swelling under the jaw
  • Swelling in the face
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rapid breathing

How do I get more information about neck masses?

Dr. Shin and his team will be happy to discuss neck masses with you.  Please call 646.943.7985 to arrange for a private consultation or schedule an appointment online at our downtown Manhattan office.