Head and Neck Disorders

Pediatric surgeons at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh treat a wide variety of head and neck masses, including inflamed lymph nodes and neck lesions, with specialized expertise and the highest level of care. Our pediatric specialists are able to provide more appropriate care for a child based on size and age, improving recovery and minimizing side effects.

Enlarged Lymph Node

The most common head or neck surgery performed at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh is on an enlarged lymph node. Most often, the lymph node is enlarged due to an infection elsewhere in the body. Typically the first line of defense is a round of antibiotics. When that doesn’t resolve the inflammation, a pediatric surgeon will biopsy the lymph node to remove it or to send it on for further testing. The procedure is done using the latest techniques, and the child is usually home the same day.

Neck Lesion or Cyst

The second most common surgical procedure for the head or neck area is a neck lesion, or cyst. Cysts are usually remnants of structures developing in utero, though sometimes are not evident for years. These cysts are often filled with sinus mucous or remains of tissues, such as thyroid tissue, left behind during development. They can be located from the jaw line down to the collar bone. For cysts, a basic removal of the mass is performed in a same-day surgical procedure. The primary side-effect is a small scar.

Removing these masses improves recovery and minimizes the risk of recurrence. These masses become evident typically in infants and toddlers, and Children’s Hospital's pediatric surgeons are experts in treating and caring for the tiniest of patients.