If you notice a sudden mass appearing in your neck, it may be a sign of a more serious condition, or it may just be a swollen lymph node. Fortunately, your ENT specialist is an expert at treating neck masses.
Minor illnesses or infections which can cause a neck mass
- A dental infection
- A cold or the flu
- Strep throat
- An ear infection
The neck mass should resolve when the infection or illness goes away.
When to see your ENT specialist for a neck mass
You should see your ENT specialist if:
- The neck mass is still there after 2 to 3 weeks
- The neck mass is growing larger and is becoming painful
- You experience a change in your voice
- You have difficulty or pain when swallowing
- You have pain in your neck or throat
- You have ear pain on the same side as the neck mass
- You have difficulty when breathing
- You are bleeding from your nose or mouth
How an ENT specialist will diagnose a neck mass
Your ENT specialist may recommend lab tests and imaging studies including a CT scan, MRI, or PET scan.
A biopsy of tissue from the neck mass may also be necessary to establish a definitive diagnosis. There are three types of biopsy procedures used for a neck mass. They include:
- A fine needle biopsy–a small needle is inserted into the neck mass and a small sample of tissue is removed.
- A core biopsy–a larger needle is inserted into the neck mass and a larger sample of tissue is removed.
- An open biopsy–a sample of neck mass tissue or the entire neck mass is removed during a surgical procedure under anesthesia.
How an ENT specialist will treat a neck mass
If the neck mass is non-cancerous, no additional treatment may be needed.
If the neck mass is precancerous, or cancerous, treatment may include surgical removal, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of the three treatments.
To learn more about neck mass treatment and how your ENT specialist can treat a neck mass, call the ENT doctors at Century Ear, Nose & Throat, Head & Neck Surgery. You can reach them in any of their offices in Orland Park, Lemont, or Oak Lawn, IL, by calling (708) 460-0007, so call now.