Cystic hygroma/lymphangioma: a rational approach to management

Laryngoscope. 2001 Nov;111(11 Pt 1):1929-37. doi: 10.1097/00005537-200111000-00011.


Objective: To outline a rational approach to the management of cystic hygroma based on the authors' experience, the natural history of the disease, and the results of surgical treatment.

Study design and methods: A retrospective review of all patients with the diagnosis of lymphangioma or cystic hygroma from 1958 to 2000 was performed.

Results: Seventy-four patients were identified with 46 cases confined to the cervicofacial region. Surgical excision was performed on 60 of the 74 cases involving all regions of the body and 34 of the 46 patients with head and neck lesions. The location of the malformation is the most important determinate for surgical success. While surgical excision was the main treatment modality, 11 of 12 untreated patients were noted to improve, with 8 patients showing complete resolution.

Conclusions: In the treatment of lymphangiomas, the physician should be experienced in the management of such lesions, be aware of spontaneous resolution, and recognize the limitations and potential harm of surgery in certain instances.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lymphangioma, Cystic / epidemiology
  • Lymphangioma, Cystic / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Regression, Spontaneous*
  • Retrospective Studies