Approach to Pediatric Neck Masses
- Pp. 25-40 (16)Michael E. McCormick and Rahul K. Shah
Pediatric neck masses can be divided into two broad categories: congenital and acquired. The most common congenital neck masses in children are branchial cleft cysts and thyroglossal duct cysts. The majority of pediatric neck masses are acquired and can be sub-classified as either infectious or inflammatory. Commonly encountered benign tumors include hemangiomas and lipomas. Unlike adult neck masses, malignant neoplasms are rare, accounting for only 15% of persistent neck masses. Cervical malignancies in children include rhabdomyosarcoma, lymphoma, and neuroblastoma. A careful history and physical examination is paramount in the diagnostic approach to the pediatric patient with a neck mass. Radiologic and laboratory tests can assist in the diagnosis, and occasionally surgical biopsy is necessary.