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Pediatr Surg Int. 2001 Jul;17(5-6):342-3.

Cervical cystic hygroma: pre-, intra-, and post-operative morbidity and mortality in Zaria, Nigeria.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, Nigeria.


The management of extensive cystic hygromas in the cervical region (CCH) presents difficult challenges. A retrospective study of 41 children with CCH treated over 24 years in Nigeria was carried out; there were 28 boys and 13 girls with an age range of 3 days to 10 years (median 6.5 months). Thirty-three (80%) presented with 34 life-threatening complications including infection in 11 (27%), rapid increase in cyst size in 10 (24%), respiratory obstruction in 7 (17%), and intracystic hemorrhage in 6 (15%). Complete excision was possible in only 14 of 34 (41%) patients, and injuries to neighboring structures occurred in 6 (18%) (facial nerve 2, recurrent laryngeal nerve 1, internal jugular vein 1, parotid duct 1, pharynx 1). Postoperatively, 8 (24%) patients developed 9 complications. Wound infections occurred in 5 incompletely-excised cysts and 2 patients had respiratory obstruction. One patient with a wound infection developed edema of the tongue lasting several days and drainage was prolonged (> 6 weeks) in 1. Five patients died, 3 from respiratory obstruction and 1 each from wound and chest infection. Four patients (12%) developed a recurrence within 5 years of surgery. The pre-, intra-, and post-operative morbidity were high in this series. Although complete excision is the ideal treatment for CCH, this need not be pursued if neighboring structures are liable to injury. When cysts are incompletely excised, antibiotic prophylaxis is necessary as the incidence of wound infection is high.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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