Plainsboro and Monroe, NJ

Plainsboro and Monroe, NJ

Doctor examining a patient's throat

What’s the Difference Between Neck Masses and Swelling?

A lump in the throat sometimes indicates an abnormal mass or a serious health condition. If you notice a mass or unusual swelling, a visit to board-certified otolaryngologist Dr. Scott Kay, FACS, at his Central New Jersey area clinic is in order. Our practice serves the surrounding areas of Monroe and Plainsboro.

What are Neck Masses & Swelling?

Neck masses can refer to unusual growths, cysts or tumors, while swelling refers to inflammation of the neck area. Congenital neck masses are those present at birth while regular neck masses develop later.

What Causes Neck Masses or Swelling?

Woman asking herself, "Why is my neck swollen?"

There can be multiple causes of neck masses or swelling. A few of the most common cases we see here in our office include:

  • Unusual tissue growth
  • Cysts
  • Deformities of the lymph nodes
  • Tumors
  • Chronic infections

Benefits of Treating Neck Masses or Swelling

Neck masses or chronic swelling can lead to hoarseness, blood in the saliva, and difficulty swallowing. Treating neck masses often alleviates these conditions and makes it easier to swallow. Unusual growths in the neck can result from life-threatening conditions such as cancer, so you should seek treatment even if you are not experiencing unusual side effects.

How are Neck Masses or Swelling Treated?

While some conditions might be treated with medication, a good number of them will require surgery. In the case of neck tumors, chemotherapy or radiation therapy could also be necessary to eliminate them.

Preparing For Neck Masses or Swelling Treatment

Several things could be required prior to treatment, including:

  • Limiting your diet to only soft foods
  • Refraining from certain medications
  • Smoking cessation

The exact preparation you need will depend on the cause of your neck mass or swelling problem. Dr. Kay will discuss treatment preparation with you during your consultation.

Recovery for Neck Masses or Swelling Treatment

After surgery, limit yourself to only light activity for a few weeks to allow your neck time to heal. During the recovery period, eating solid food could be difficult to do, in which case you might need to consume only soft foods. Drink plenty of liquids regardless of the treatment you receive to keep the throat from becoming dry and irritated.

If chemotherapy or radiation therapy is needed, you must take additional measures to maintain your health, including:

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Avoiding carcinogens such as those found in tobacco, household cleaners, and skin care products
  • Having regular checkups from your primary care physician

How Much Does Neck Masses or Swelling Treatment Cost?

That will depend on the cause of your neck mass and the required treatment. There may be some conditions that would require you to see an additional specialist. Dr. Kay can only provide you with an estimate for the services he provides. For your convenience, we accept most major health insurance plans. Any amount not covered by insurance can be paid with cash, personal check, major credit card or CareCredit® financing.

Is Neck Masses or Swelling Treatment Right for Me?

Neck masses and swelling sometimes result from conditions such as strep throat or tonsillitis. Masses or swelling related to these conditions tend to go away on their own once the underlying problem is resolved. Those that persist or do not appear related to a common illness should be looked at right away, as their presence could indicate a serious, life-threatening condition.

Why Choose Princeton Otolaryngology Associates: Dr. Scott L. Kay for Neck Masses and Swelling?

Dr. Scott Kay is a board certified otolaryngologist with more than 15 years in practice. He has completed a general surgery residency at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, and also spent time as a resident in otolaryngology/head and neck surgery. His extensive surgical training is important to patients with neck masses, as there is often no other way to treat them than through an operation.

What to Expect During Your Consultation for Neck Masses or Swelling

Your consultation will largely focus on identifying the source of your neck mass and/or swelling problem. To do this, Dr. Kay will:

  • Review your health history
  • Find out as much information about your problem as possible, including where and when symptoms were first noticed
  • Examine your mouth, throat, neck and face for signs of abnormalities
  • Order any tests he deems necessary, which can include an MRI, CT scan, x-rays or a biopsy

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