Neck masses are common in both children and adults. Many lumps in the neck are noted incidentally by patients or physicians and frequently do not cause pain or other symptoms. While most neck masses are benign, a lump in the neck can also be a sign of a more serious underlying condition such as a malignancy. Most neck masses and other head and neck disorders can be successfully treated when detected early. Lloyd Loft, MD, FACS, located on the Upper East Side, Midtown East New York City, has more than 25 years of experience in the evaluation and management of a broad range of head and neck disorders. Schedule an evaluation today by calling Dr. Loft’s office or requesting an appointment online.
Head and neck disorders can be caused by a variety of reasons. Most neck masses are benign or non-cancerous, but a persistent lump in the neck can also be a sign of a more serious underlying condition such as an infection or a cancerous growth.
Swollen glands (lymph nodes) from a bacterial or viral infection are common causes of swelling in the neck and often resolve within one or two weeks.
Neck masses can be caused by other types of infections, as well as inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. Neck masses can also be caused by congenital abnormalities and malignancies (cancer) of the mouth, throat, thyroid, or salivary glands. Other malignancies, such as lymphomas or the spread of tumors from other parts of the body, can present with a neck mass.
Common risk factors for oral and throat tumors include the use of tobacco products in any form, excessive alcohol use, as well as oral human papilloma virus (HPV). Any persistent mass in the neck should be evaluated by a head and neck specialist.
Common causes of benign and malignant neck masses include:
To determine the cause of a neck mass or other head and neck symptoms, Dr. Lloyd Loft reviews your medical history and performs a thorough ENT and head and neck examination. He may also perform a flexible fiberoptic nasopharyngoscopy. During this procedure, a thin medical telescope is used to visualize the membranes that line the inside of the nose, throat, and voice box. This test can be performed in the office and is well tolerated by most patients. Dr. Loft may recommend additional diagnostic studies to help diagnose the cause of your symptoms, including blood tests, CT or MRI scans, and ultrasound guided fine-needle biopsy.
The treatment of a neck mass or head and neck condition will depend on the diagnosis. Fortunately, many head and neck disorders, and tumors can be successfully treated or cured if detected early. Once Dr. Loft has determined the exact cause of your condition, he can provide you with information about your treatment options. Swollen glands from a viral infection often resolve within a week or two without any medical therapy. Bacterial infections are usually treated with an antibiotic.
Management of benign or malignant tumors depends on multiple factors, including the stage of the disease, type, and location of the tumor, as well as the patient's overall health and treatment preferences. Successful treatment of malignant head and neck tumors frequently require a multispecialty approach and a collaborative decision-making process involving surgeons, pathologists, radiologists, and medical and radiation oncologists.
Dr. Loft may recommend one or more of the following treatment options for neck masses or head and neck disorders:
If you have a persistent neck mass or other head and neck symptoms, an early, accurate diagnosis can lead to the best treatment outcomes. For expert evaluation by an experienced ENT physician, call Dr. Lloyd Loft’s office or schedule an appointment online today.