Neck Lump Surgery

A neck lump is any bump, lump or swelling in the neck. They have many causes and are not always serious. They can be enlarged lymph nodes, due to bacterial or viral infection or inflammation. Lumps in the neck can be due to benign (non-cancerous) swellings as seen in cysts, or lumps of fibrous tissue or fat (fibrolipomas). Growths can form in the parotid and thyroid glands. These can be benign or malignant (cancerous). Cancers that begin in the head or neck usually spread to lymph nodes in the neck before they spread elsewhere. Therefore, a lump in the neck that lasts more than one month should be examined by a head and neck specialist. Although not all lumps are cancerous, a lump in the neck can be the first sign of cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx (voice box), thyroid gland, or of certain lymphomas or blood cancers. Such lumps are usually painless and grow steadily. Surgery aims to investigate, diagnose and, if necessary, remove any unwanted neck lumps. Benign lumps, such as a fibrolipoma or cyst, are usually removed. If the lump is associated with another problem in the head and neck, such as cancer, both the primary site and the neck lump need to be treated. This may involve surgery and other therapies, such as radiotherapy. Some simple neck lumps may be able to be removed under local anaesthesia. Otherwise surgery takes place with general anaesthesia.

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