St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    Neck lump

    Lump in the neck

    A neck lump is any lump, bump, or swelling in the neck.

    Considerations

    There are many causes of lumps in the neck. The mostcommon lumps or swellings are enlarged lymph nodes. These can be caused by bacterial or viral infections, cancer (malignancy), or other rare causes.

    Swollensalivary glands under the jaw may be caused by infection or cancer. Lumps in the muscles of the neck are caused by injury or torticollis. These lumps are oftenat the front of the neck. Lumps in the skin or just below the skin are often caused by cysts,such assebaceous cysts.

    The thyroid gland may also produce swelling, or one or more lumps. This can be due to thyroid disease or cancer. Most cancers of the thyroid gland are extremely grow very slowly. They are often cured withsurgery, even if they have been present for several years.

    All neck lumps in children and adults should be checked right away by a doctor. In children, most neck lumps are caused by infections that can be treated. Treatment should start quickly to prevent complications or the spread of infection.

    As adults age, the likelihood of the lump being a cancer increases. This is particularly truefor people who smoke or drink a lot of alcohol. Most lumps in adults are not cancers.

    Causes

    SWOLLEN LYMPH NODES IN THE NECK

    • Bacterial
      • Atypical mycobacterium (a type of bacteria)
      • Bacterial pharyngitis
      • Cat scratch disease
      • Peritonsillar abscess
      • Strep throat
      • Tonsillitis
      • Tuberculosis
    • Cancer
      • Hodgkin disease
      • Leukemia
      • Mouth cancer
      • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
      • Other cancer
    • Thyroid
      • Cancer of the thyroid
      • Goiter
      • Graves disease
    • Viral
      • AIDS
      • Herpes infections
      • HIV disease
      • Infectious mononucleosis
      • Rubella (German measles)
      • Viral pharyngitis
    • Other
      • Allergic reactions
      • Allergic reaction to a drug (medication)
      • Food allergies

    SALIVARY GLAND ENLARGEMENT

    • Infection
    • Mumps
    • Salivary gland tumor
    • Stone in salivary duct

    Home Care

    See your health care provider to have the cause of the neck lump treated.

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have an abnormal neck swelling, or lumps in your neck.

    What to Expect at Your Office Visit

    The health care provider will take your medical history and do a physical examination.

    Medical history questions may include:

    • Where is the lump located?
    • Is it a hard lump?
    • Is it a soft, pliable (moves slightly), bag-like (cystic) mass?
    • Is it a painless bag-like (cystic) mass?
    • Is the entire neck swollen?
    • Has it been growing bigger? Over how many months?
    • What other symptoms do you have?
    • Do you havea rash?
    • Do you have difficulty breathing?

    If you are diagnosed with a thyroid goiter, you may need medication or surgery to remove it. If the health care provider suspects a thyroid nodule, the following may help in diagnosis and treatment:

    • CT scan of the head or neck
    • Radioactive thyroid scan
    • Thyroid biopsy

    If the lump is caused by a bacterial infection, you may need to take antibiotics. If the cause is a noncancerous mass or cyst, you may need surgery to remove it.

    References

    Pfaff JA, Moore GP. Otolaryngology. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2009:chap 70.

    Chen A, Otto KJ. Differential diagnosis of neck masses. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2010:chap 116.

    BACK TO TOP

    • Lymphatic system

      illustration

    • Neck lump

      illustration

      • Lymphatic system

        illustration

      • Neck lump

        illustration

      A Closer Look

        Talking to your MD

          Self Care

            Tests for Neck lump

              Review Date: 1/22/2013

              Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

              The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
              adam.com

              A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


              Back  |  Top
              About Us
              Contact Us
              History
              Mission
              Locations & Directions
              Quality Reports
              Annual Reports
              Honors & Awards
              Community Health Needs
              Assessment

              Newsroom
              Services
              Brain & Spine
              Cancer
              Heart
              Maternity
              Orthopedics
              Pulmonary
              Sleep Medicine
              Urgent Care
              Women's Services
              All Services
              Patients & Visitors
              Locations & Directions
              Find a Physician
              Tour St. Luke's
              Patient & Visitor Information
              Contact Us
              Payment Options
              Financial Assistance
              Send a Card
              Mammogram Appointments
              Health Tools
              My Personal Health
              mystlukes
              Spirit of Women
              Health Information & Tools
              Clinical Trials
              Health Risk Assessments
              Employer Programs -
              Passport to Wellness

              Classes & Events
              Classes & Events
              Spirit of Women
              Donate & Volunteer
              Giving Opportunities
              Volunteer
              Physicians & Employees
              For Physicians
              Remote Access
              Medical Residency Information
              Pharmacy Residency Information
              Physician CPOE Training
              Careers
              Careers
              St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
              Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile