Causes of Neck Lumps & Swollen Thyroid
- Finding a lump in the neck can cause a lot of anxiety and it is advisable to seek ENT specialist medical advice.
- Your neck contains a wide variety of structures and there are many possible causes for the neck lump.
- One of the commonest causes of lump in the neck is a virus infection such as a common cold which causes tender swelling of the neck’s lymph glands. Usually this settles after a week or two and antibiotics may be prescribed before further investigating the lump.
- Some other causes of neck lumps include:
- Infections such as tuberculosis
- Tumours of the lymph glands
- Thyroid gland swellings
- Cysts in the neck (may be present since birth but become bigger later in life)
- Salivary gland blockage or growths
Treatment for Neck Lumps & Swollen Thyroid
- The purpose of seeing ENT specialist is to obtain an accurate diagnosis and to treat the neck lump if necessary.
- Careful evaluation usually begins with questions about the lump and changes in voice, swallowing, breathing, appetite and weight. You may also be asked about fevers, night sweats, throat & ear pain, hearing loss, dental problems, travel, smoking and alcohol use.
- The examination will include the neck and its surrounding areas. Usually endoscopy is carried out of the nose and throat. This uses a special flexible telescope and the examination is usually painless. Some anesthetic spray may be used before the examination.
- Dr. Lau’s ENT Centre uses state of the art digital endoscopy with image enhancement (Pentax i-scan) to provide high resolution imaging of the nose and throat. This advanced imaging technology is particularly useful in screening and diagnosis of cancers of the nose and throat.
- Fine needle aspiration (FNA) may be needed to reach a diagnosis. This is achieved by carefully passing a very fine needle through the skin into the neck lump to remove some cells which can be looked at under a microscope. The procedure usually produces only minor discomfort. Sometimes an ultrasound probe on the outside of the neck is used to guide the needle.
- Blood tests, x-rays and special scans (such as ultrasound, CT, MRI or PET) may also be ordered to assess the neck lump further.
- Occasionally, despite all these investigations, it is impossible to achieve an accurate diagnosis. If concern remains that the lump has suspicious features, it may have to be removed so that the whole lump can be analyzed. This is called an excision biopsy.
- Dr. Lau is fully trained and experienced in the investigation and surgical removal of lumps of the neck, including lumps in the salivary glands and thyroid gland.