Doxycycline sclerotherapy in children with head and neck lymphatic malformations

J Pediatr Surg. 2015 Dec;50(12):2143-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jpedsurg.2015.08.051. Epub 2015 Sep 4.


Objective: This is a systematic review of the literature describing doxycycline sclerotherapy (DS) to treat pediatric head and neck lymphatic malformations and examine patient factors associated with treatment success.

Data sources: PubMed, EMBASE, and Ovid.

Review methods: A query of PubMed, EMBASE, and Ovid search engines (1995-2014) for studies examining outcomes for doxycycline sclerotherapy (DS) as primary treatment strategy for children with head and neck lymphatic malformations was undertaken. Successful outcome was defined as clinical resolution of symptoms or greater than 50% reduction in radiographic involvement.

Results: Five studies met the inclusion criteria for review. All were retrospective case series reports with high risk of bias. The dose of doxycycline used in all but one of the studies was 10mg/mL, and the highest concentration administered was 20mg/mL. Thirty-eight children met the inclusion criteria for analysis. Thirty-two (84.2%) children were successfully treated with DS, with 23 (60.5%) utilizing only one treatment session. Average follow-up was 9.7months. Age, gender, de Serres stage 1, and type of lymphatic malformation were not related to successful treatment outcome (p=0.23, 1, 1, and 0.13, respectively).

Conclusions: DS is very effective for treatment of macrocystic and mixed head and neck lymphatic malformations in children. Overall success with DS treatment in children with lymphatic malformation of the head and neck was 84.2%. DS has distinct advantages over other sclerotherapy agents including that it is inexpensive and widely available, and has minimal side effects. No associated patient characteristics were found to predict improved success.

Keywords: Cystic hygroma; Doxycycline; Lymphangioma; Lymphatic malformation; Sclerotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Doxycycline / administration & dosage*
  • Doxycycline / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Head
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lymphatic Abnormalities / therapy*
  • Male
  • Neck
  • Sclerosing Solutions / administration & dosage*
  • Sclerosing Solutions / adverse effects
  • Sclerotherapy* / adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Sclerosing Solutions
  • Doxycycline