[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
October 1997

Prognostic Factors in the Treatment of Lymphatic Malformations

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1997;123(10):1061-1065. doi:10.1001/archotol.1997.01900100035004

Objective:  To find factors that may influence the treatment outcomes of lymphatic malformations of the head and neck in children.

Design:  Charts of patients treated surgically for lymphatic malformations of the head and neck between 1988 and 1996 at our tertiary care children's hospital were reviewed retrospectively. Outcomes were correlated with age at presentation, associated symptoms, anatomical site (s) of involvement, extent of disease, length of time between first symptoms and surgery, completeness of removal, and histologic pattern.

Patients:  Of 85 children treated, 74 underwent primary surgical excision at our hospital. Follow-up ranged from 6 months to 8 years, with a mean of 3 years.

Results:  The overall recurrence rate, judged by functional or cosmetic deformity, was 22%. Two neonates died of the disease. Factors associated with a better prognosis were a single anatomical site of involvement; location in the neck, even if involving 2 sites; and the impression of completeness of resection at the time of surgery. Findings associated with a higher recurrence rate included younger age (especially neonates) and the presence of associated symptoms (ie, infection, dyspnea, dysphagia, and hemorrhage). The histologic pattern and the length of time from diagnosis to treatment were not significantly associated with the prognosis.

Conclusions:  We recommend aggressive, timely surgical excision for lymphatic malformations of the head and neck. The timing of surgery should be based on the child's functional and cosmetic deformity at the time of presentation and on the likelihood of complete excision, weighed against the morbidity associated with surgical excision.Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1997;123:1061-1065