chapter  67
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BENIGN EXTRATHYROID NECK MASSES

This chapter deals with benign masses in the neck not arising from the thyroid gland.

Enlargement of the cervical lymph nodes occurs frequently. It is a normal part of upper-respiratory infections such as head colds and sore throats. More substantial enlargement with pain and swelling can occur when the lymph nodes become acutely infected (suppurative adenitis). Persistent, gross enlargement of lymph nodes in the neck may occur. The nodes are tender and reduce in size again after the infection. There may be some slight, persisting enlargement of a node following repeated upper-respiratory infections in adults, and enlargement of cervical lymph nodes is quite common in children who are prone to upper-respiratory infection. If the nodes are small in size, soft in consistency, freely mobile within the neck and not enlarging progressively, then they are usually accepted as innocent. This is a clinical judgement which has to be made by the attending doctor. Any progressivelyenlarging lymph nodes must be viewed with suspicion as they may be the site of a chronic infection (such as tuberculosis) or a tumour as described in Chapter 66.