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Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2000 Jul 14;53(3):187-94.

Cervical lymphadenitis due to non-tuberculous mycobacteria: surgical treatment and review.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Starship Childrens Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand.


A retrospective study was carried out on 57 children, presenting with non-tuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lymphadenitis of the head and neck, over a 12 year period. Cultures recovered 56 Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare (MAI), and one Mycobacterium kansasaii. Anti-mycobacterial agents were used in seven patients only. On the basis of the initial operation there were two groups. Group 1 (11 patients) had an excision, and Group 2 (46 patients) had incision and drainage (30 patients), incision and curettage (13 patients), or aspiration (three patients). There was no significant difference in the makeup of these two groups. However, Group 1 had significantly lower number of re-operations than Group 2, P<0.01, and achieved a significantly greater healing rate than Group 2, P<0.001. In Group 2 those who had an excision following failure of the first operation were significantly more likely to heal than those who did not, P<0. 005. Operative excision gives a lower rate of re-operation, and a higher rate of healing than other procedures. The treatment, natural history, clinical presentation, pathogenesis, and diagnosis of NTM cervical lymphadenitis are discussed.

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