Facial & Neck Masses in Children

There are a number of facial and neck masses that can be either conditions that your child is born with or has acquired. Some common conditions that your child may be born with are branchial cleft abnormalities, thyroglossal duct cysts, dermoid cyst and vascular malformations. These congenital neck masses are evaluated by our pediatric otolaryngology team.

Branchial Cleft Abnormalities

Branchial cleft abnormalities are present at birth but may not be evident until an upper respiratory infection. These are abnormalities that are present on the sides of the neck and may or may not have openings in the throat or on the outside of the neck. These 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. These masses move with swallowing and movement of the tongue.  They also become evident during upper respiratory infections and may require antibiotics if they become infections. Patients may also require blood tests and ultrasound to ensure normal thyroid function. These masses are often 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 include surgical excision.

Vascular Malformations 

Vascular malformations encompass many different lesions that may require different treatment options. Here at the University of Chicago Medicine, we have a vascular anomalies team to better help with patient care and treatment.

Conditions that may be acquired, are neck abscesses or, very rarely, cancerous malformations. These are often evaluated by our team and may require, medication, observation or excision.