Evaluation and Management of a Neck Mass

Med Clin North Am. 2021 Sep;105(5):827-837. doi: 10.1016/j.mcna.2021.05.005. Epub 2021 Jul 12.


Neck masses are common physical examination findings seen in the outpatient setting but identifying an underlying cause can be challenging. A careful medical history should be obtained, and a thorough physical examination should be performed, which will guide the need for follow-up examination with imaging, biopsies, and specialist referrals. The goal of this article is to provide a working framework to evaluate and manage some of the most common causes of adult neck masses.

Keywords: Evaluation of neck; Head and neck cancer; Neck cancer; Neck lesion; Neck mass.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Biomarkers
  • Biopsy, Fine-Needle
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology
  • Humans
  • Neck / diagnostic imaging
  • Neck / pathology*
  • Physical Examination
  • Primary Health Care


  • Biomarkers