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Semin Perinatol. 1999 Aug;23(4):341-56.

Cystic hygroma in the fetus and newborn.

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Department of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520-8064, USA.


Cystic hygromas are developmental abnormalities of the lymphoid system that occur at sites of lymphatic-venous connection, most commonly in the posterior neck. They are frequently associated with karyotypic abnormalities, various malformation syndromes, and several teratogenic agents. The disease course of an infant with cystic hygroma is unpredictable. When diagnosed prenatally, the overall prognosis is poor. Cystic hygroma diagnosed after birth is usually associated with a good prognosis. This article reviews the embryologic, genetic, and pathologic correlates of these lymphatic system abnormalities, as well as the clinical course and outcome of the fetus and newborn with a cystic hygroma. Management strategies are reviewed, including newer nonsurgical therapies for the neonate with a cystic hygroma.

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