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Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2000 Jul;82(4):223-6.

Management of neck lumps--a triage model.

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Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK.


We report our experience in the out-patient triage of 100 patients presenting with a lump in the neck. The out-patient visit consisted of a general history and examination, assessment of the upper air and food passages and, where indicated, ultrasound and core needle biopsy of the lump. Other investigations were performed as appropriate. One hundred neck lump patients were seen in a 9 month period. Ninety-six of these lumps were diagnosed on an out-patient basis, only four requiring admission for formal excision biopsy. Among the diagnoses were eleven lymphomas, nine parotid neoplasms, nine lymph node metastases, five thyroglossal cysts, and four branchial cysts. Almost half the patients seen had either a reactive lymphadenopathy, or no abnormality. The establishment of a tissue diagnosis on an out-patient basis allowed appropriate referrals to be made and management plans to be formulated. The theoretical risk of seeding of malignant cells in the needle tract is acknowledged and discussed.

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