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A neck lump is a ‘bump’, ‘lump’ or ‘swelling’ in the neck. The presence of a lump in the neck is a common clinical problem.

Why you might need it

A neck lump is a ‘bump’, ‘lump’ or ‘swelling’ in the neck. The presence of a lump in the neck is a common clinical problem.

Finding a lump in the neck can cause considerable anxiety. Fortunately, the majority of neck lumps are benign and not serious. However, cancers of the mouth, throat, voice box (larynx), thyroid, and some lymphomas (blood cancers) can appear first as a painless, growing neck lump. Therefore all neck lumps require timely assessment by an Ear, Nose & Throat consultant.

A lump in the neck persisting for more than three weeks, especially if it is not associated with a cold, flu, or other infection should be assessed by a specialist consultant.

Who will do it?

Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see, and when you want. They'll be with you every step of the way.

All of our consultants are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.

Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-speciality surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.

Before your treatment

You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.

We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.

Preparing for your treatment

We've tried to make your experience with us as easy and relaxed as possible.

For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.

Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.

The procedure

A neck lump is a ‘bump’, ‘lump’ or ‘swelling’ in the neck. The presence of a lump in the neck is a common clinical problem.

Finding a lump in the neck can cause considerable anxiety. Fortunately, the majority of neck lumps are benign and not serious. However, cancers of the mouth, throat, voice box (larynx), thyroid, and some lymphomas (blood cancers) can appear first as a painless, growing neck lump. Therefore all neck lumps require timely assessment by an Ear, Nose & Throat consultant.

A lump in the neck persisting for more than three weeks, especially if it is not associated with a cold, flu, or other infection should be assessed by a specialist consultant.

There are many different causes of neck lumps and the most common are listed below:

Thyroid gland

The thyroid gland is an important hormone gland situated just below the Adam’s apple in the neck. The gland produces a hormone (thyroxine) which is essential to control the body’s metabolism and well-being.

Lumps are very commonly found within this gland. The majority of such nodules are not serious, however about 5% (1 in 20) are cancers, which is why clinical assessment and thorough investigations are required. To investigate thyroid lumps several methods can be used, most frequently an ultrasound scan is performed to assess the lump and to accurately guide a small biopsy from the lump using a fine needle.

Thyroid surgery (thyroidectomy) may be performed for various reasons: if the lump is potentially malignant, a cosmetic issue as a result of its size or if the thyroid is overactive. Surgery can be done through conventional ‘open’ surgery or endoscopically (‘keyhole’ thyroidectomy) for improved cosmetic results.

Parotid gland

The parotid gland is the largest salivary gland, positioned just below the ear and behind the jaw. It produces saliva that helps in the process of chewing foods and swallowing.

Lumps in the Parotid gland are common amongst all ages; the majority are not cancerous; however they sometimes contain cancer cells, which is why thorough investigations are recommended.

Whilst only a small number may be cancerous, benign lumps can still cause their own problems due to increasing size causing unsightly swelling and pain; stones can also form in the gland blocking the ducts which release saliva causing repeated painful swelling and infections.

Again, the most frequently used investigation is an ultrasound scan to both assess the lump and to accurately guide a small biopsy from the lump using a fine needle.

Lymph nodes

Enlargement of lymph nodes – this is the most common cause of new neck lumps. Lymph nodes are part of the immune system, and enlarge when the body rallies to fight an infection. When the infection recedes, lymph swelling should subside as well. If they remain large and especially if they continue to grow in size they require urgent assessment by an ENT surgeon as they may be due to a cancer in the head and neck regions.

Aftercare

Even after you’ve left hospital, we’re still looking after you every step of the way. After treatment for a neck lump, a follow up appointment may be required and ongoing monitoring / treatment may be recommended.

If you have any questions or concerns, we're here to help.

Why choose Spire?

We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.

How much does it cost?

A fixed price for this treatment may be available on enquiry and following an initial consultation.

You can trust Spire Cheshire Hospital to provide you with a single, fixed price (1) so there are no surprises. And, through our carefully chosen partner (2) you can even be considered for interest free finance.

We’re here to help you with making these important choices, so you’re then free to concentrate on your treatment and on getting back to being you.

(1) Important: Please read Spire’s terms and conditions for full details of what’s included and excluded in your fixed price* when paying for yourself.

(2) Zebra Finance Ltd trading as Zebra Health Finance , Lincoln House, Stephensons Way, Wyvern Business Park, Derby, DE21 6LY. 

Important to note

The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.