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May 1991

Cervicofacial Cystic Hygroma: Patterns of Recurrence and Management of the Difficult Case

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1991;117(5):546-553. doi:10.1001/archotol.1991.01870170092021

• Cystic hygromas usually present in infancy or early childhood as compressible masses that may rapidly and intermittently enlarge. While they may arise in any anatomic location, hygromas of the head and neck are especially difficult to manage since enlargement may cause serious sequela such as airway obstruction, feeding difficulties, and speech pathology. Complete extirpation of these lesions is often impossible, and recurrence rates are accordingly high. We reviewed our 10-year experience in treating cervicofacial cystic hygromas. Of 34 patients, 21 had lesions cephalad to the hyoid and 13 had lesions caudal to the hyoid. While none of the 13 children with infrahyoid lesions demonstrated feeding or respiratory difficulties, eight of 21 children with suprahyoid involvement presented with dysphagia or airway compromise. The recurrence rates for infrahyoid and suprahyoid lesions were 15% and 81%, respectively. Those children with suprahyoid hygromas also experienced an increased operative complication rate compared with patients with infrahyoid involvement. Principles of management for suprahyoid and infrahyoid lesions are described, including the specific management of lingual, submandibular, parotid, and parotofacial hygromas.

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1991;117:546-553)