Written by Mr Paul Stimpson for Doctify

Finding a lump anywhere can be scary, which is why the more information you have the better. Neck lumps can be the result of several things.

Here to tell us a little more about these causes is Ear, Nose and Throat Surgeon, Mr Paul Stimpson.

When should you get a neck lump checked?

It is quite common to get a small neck lump from time to time, especially after a cold or flu-like illness.

If you notice a lump in the neck that does not seem to be related to recent illness or does not get better after two weeks it is usually best to have it assessed by your doctor.

What is the most common cause of neck lumps?

The list of causes is very long! The neck is full of very important structures and a lump can be associated with any one of these.

In general, lumps are either congenital (present since birth) or acquired. They can be associated with the soft tissues (fat/muscles or skin) or deeper structures (lymph nodes/blood vessels or nerves).

Lumps can also occur in the organs of the neck such as the salivary glands, the thyroid and the structures of the th

Can these affect the ability to swallow or talk?

Yes, sometimes. If the lump is causing pressure on the voice box or effecting the important nerves that create voice then you may notice hoarseness or a change in the character of your voice.

Likewise, a lump that affects the swallow can cause problems with nutrition and lead to weight loss. These features may be associated with more serious causes of a neck lump and so they they should be promptly investigated.

What treatments are available?

As always, the treatments will depend on the cause. After a detailed assessment by your specialist the treatment options will be presented to you. Sometimes no treatment is required and the lumps will resolve. This is common for infections and inflammatory lumps.

Other lumps may need surgical removal and our specialist will explain all the risks and benefits of the procedure with you before you decide to go ahead.

Some neck lumps may be part of another condition that affects the rest of your body and in this case you may need to be referred to another specialist for treatment.

What kind of recovery/aftercare time is usual?

If surgery is offered, it may be very minor in the form of a day case operation under local anaesthetic but for more major cases you may need to stay in hospital until you recover sufficiently to go home.

Again, it all depends on the nature of the lump and the exact diagnosis.

What should I do if I am worried?

If you have a lump in the neck and you are worried you should seek the advice of an expert in managing Head and Neck problems. These specialists can offer a definitive assessment including an endoscopy and they often have access to rapid diagnostic tools such as ultrasound and biopsy in addition to CT and MRI scans if needed.

 


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