Head & Neck Mass Services for Children

Head and neck masses in children are common and are typically benign, meaning noncancerous. At Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, our pediatric otolaryngologists—ear, nose, and throat doctors—specialize in managing head and neck masses and create treatment plans based on the individual needs of each child.

We also work with specialists at the Stephen D. Hassenfeld Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders to manage cancerous head or neck masses.

Our Approach to Child-Centered Care

Our doctors rely on a collaborative, team-based approach to care. We work closely with your child’s pediatrician, as well as a variety of specialists. These may include speech–language pathologists, dentists, neuroradiologists, genetic counselors, and oncologists. Together, we manage these and other head and neck masses:

  • branchial cleft abnormalities, abnormal clusters of tissue that may form pockets or passages in the neck
  • dermoid cyst, a noncancerous growth that may contain hair cells, skin cells, or sweat glands
  • juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma, a mass of vascular tissue in the nasal cavity
  • Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • ranula, a fluid-filled cyst that forms under the tongue
  • sarcomas, or cancer of the soft tissues, including rhabdomyosarcoma, which arises in muscle
  • salivary gland tumors, most of which are benign and occur in the parotids, which are in front of the ears
  • teratomas, masses that may contain hair, muscle, or bone
  • thyroglossal duct cyst, which forms in the front of the neck and is filled with fluid
  • thyroid nodules, masses that form in an endocrine gland at the base of the neck

We strive to keep patients and families supported and comfortable throughout the diagnosis and treatment process. We put your child at the center of care to ensure the best possible outcomes.

Child-Friendly Imaging and Tailored Treatments

We offer advanced imaging techniques to help diagnose a head or neck mass, including ultrasound, CT scans, and MRI scans. These scans may be accompanied by sedation or feed-and-swaddle methods to maximize your child’s safety and comfort during testing. Learn more about diagnosing head and neck masses.

If an infection is the cause of a head or neck mass, our doctors may observe your child or prescribe medication to resolve the condition. Our otolaryngologists are highly trained in minimally invasive, open, and reconstructive surgical techniques to remove a mass when this is required.

If your child has a cancerous head and neck mass, our otolaryngologists work with specialists at the Stephen D. Hassenfeld Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders to provide treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Support services and survivorship programs are also available.