Pediatric head and neck masses

Top Magn Reson Imaging. 2004 Apr;15(2):95-101. doi: 10.1097/01.rmr.0000130600.57619.f4.


Most neck masses in the pediatric head and neck region are benign. Congenital, developmental, and inflammatory lesions make up most of the masses in the pediatric head and neck. For example, neck masses due to inflammatory lymphadenitis are common in children because of the frequency of upper respiratory tract infections. Although many of the malignant tumors in children are found in the head and neck, they account for only a small portion of the neck masses. The choice of the imaging modality is based on a number of factors, several of which are unique to the pediatric population. Although the bulk of disease entities are adequately evaluated by CT, MRI can provide additional vital information in many cases. MRI provides better soft tissue characterization than CT, has multiplanar capabilities. In this article, we will attempt to provide an overview of conditions that present as neck masses.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Vessels / abnormalities
  • Child
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Infections / diagnosis*
  • Lymphadenitis / diagnosis*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Neck / pathology*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed