Pediatric Facial Masses and Lesions

Facial and neck masses can be either a condition that your child is born with or acquired. Conditions at birth can be branchial cleft abnormalities, thyroglossal duct cysts, dermoid cysts, and vascular malformations. Our pediatric otolaryngology team evaluates these congenital neck masses.

Types of Pediatric Facial Masses and Lesions

Branchial Cleft Abnormalities

Branchial cleft abnormalities are present at birth but may not be evident until an upper respiratory infection. These are abnormalities on the sides of the neck and may or may not have openings in the throat or on the outside of the neck. The abnormalities may become infected and require antibiotics as well as surgical excision.

Thyroglossal Duct Cysts

Thyroglossal duct cysts are congenital lesions that are present in the midline of the neck. Masses may move with swallowing and movement of the tongue. They also become evident during upper respiratory infections and may require antibiotics to treat an infection. Some children need blood tests and an ultrasound to evaluate thyroid function. Thyroglossal duct cysts or masses are removed surgically.

Dermoid Cysts

Dermoid cysts are a mass that is a collection of skin cells that lie in subcutaneous tissues. They are often mobile and feel separate from the overlying skin. Depending on the location, it may require imaging (CT Scan or MRI) to see the extent of the mass. Treatment may require surgery to remove the dermoid cyst.

Vascular Malformations

Vascular malformations encompass many different lesions with various treatment options. Acquired conditions such as neck abscesses are rarely cancerous malformations. 

Diagnosis Of Neck Masses

Since there are such diverse causes for neck masses, proper diagnosis is essential. Diagnostic tests for neck masses may include:

  • Blood Tests
  • Biopsy of tissue
  • CT scan
  • MRI scan
  • Ultrasound
  • Radioactive thyroid scan
  • Bone marrow biopsy

Treatment For Neck Masses

If an allergy causes the neck mass, treatment may include using antihistamines, corticosteroids, or epinephrine to prevent or treat anaphylaxis. When bacterial infections cause a neck mass, doctors use antibiotics to treat the mass. Neck masses due to a disease process involve treating the underlying cause of the neck mass. If tumors are present, surgery may be necessary.

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