BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuCystic hygromaLymphangioma; Lymphatic malformationA cystic hygroma is a growth that often occurs in the head and neck area. It is a birth defect. Causes A cystic hygroma occurs as the baby grows in the womb. It forms from pieces of material that carry fluid and white blood cells. This material is called embryonic lymphatic tissue.Lymphatic tissueThe lymph system is a network of organs, lymph nodes, lymph ducts, and lymph vessels that make and move lymph from tissues to the bloodstream. The l...Read Article Now Book Mark Article After birth, a cystic hygroma most often looks like a soft bulge under the skin. The cyst may not be found at birth. It typically grows as the child grows. Sometimes it is not noticed until the child is older. Symptoms A common symptom is a neck growth. It may be found at birth, or discovered later in an infant after an upper respiratory tract infection (such as a cold). Exams and Tests Sometimes, a cystic hygroma is seen using a pregnancy ultrasound when the baby is still in the womb. This can mean that the baby has a chromosomal problem or other birth defects.Pregnancy ultrasoundA pregnancy ultrasound is an imaging test that uses sound waves to create a picture of how a baby is developing in the womb. It is also used to chec...Read Article Now Book Mark Article ChromosomalGenetics is the study of heredity, the process of a parent passing certain genes to their children. A person's appearance -- height, hair color, ski...Read Article Now Book Mark Article The following tests may be done:Chest x-ray Ultrasound CT scan MRI scanIf the condition is detected during a pregnancy ultrasound, other ultrasound tests or amniocentesis may be recommended. Treatment Treatment involves removing all of the abnormal tissue. However, cystic hygromas can often grow, making it impossible to remove all of the tissue.Other treatments have been tried with only limited success. These include:Chemotherapy medicines Injection of sclerosing medicines Radiation therapy Steroids Outlook (Prognosis) The outlook is good if surgery can totally remove the abnormal tissue. In cases where complete removal is not possible, the cystic hygroma commonly returns.The long-term outcome may also depend on what other chromosomal abnormalities or birth defects, if any, are present. Possible Complications Complications may include:Bleeding Damage to structures in the neck caused by surgery Infection Return of the cystic hygroma When to Contact a Medical Professional If you notice a lump in your neck or your child's neck, contact your health care provider. Open ReferencesReferencesBell EB, Nugent A, El-Deiry MW. Differential diagnosis of neck masses. In: Flint PW, Francis HW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 113.Kelly M, Tower RL, Camitta BM. Abnormalities of lymphatic vessels. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 516.Marcdante KJ, Kliegman RM. Lower airway, parenchymal, and pulmonary vascular diseases. In: Marcdante KJ, Kliegman RM, eds. Nelson Essentials of Pediatrics. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 136.Richards DS. Obstetric ultrasound: imaging, dating, growth, and anomaly. In: Landon MB, Galan HL, Jauniaux ERM, et al, eds. Gabbe's Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 9.AllVideoImagesTogRelated Information Review Date: 8/31/2021 Reviewed By: Josef Shargorodsky, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- © 1997- All rights reserved. A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.Content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.