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Lymphatic Malformation

What is a lymphatic malformation?

A lymphatic malformation is a mass in the head or neck, resulting from an abnormal formation of lymphatic vessels. These are the small canals that lie near blood vessels and help carry tissue fluids from within the body to the lymph nodes and then back to the bloodstream. Most are detected by age 2. There are two main types: lymphangioma and cystic hygroma.


 A cystic hygroma can be a large cyst or pocket of lymphatic fluid, resulting from blocked lymphatic vessels. Nearly all occur in the neck, although some can occur in the mouth, cheek, and tissues surrounding the ear. A lymphangioma is a group of lymphatic vessels that form a mass or lump.


Requires a skilled evaluation. Symptoms of a lymphatic malformation can resemble other neck masses or medical problems.


Treatment may include antibiotic medications (to treat infection); an incision to drain the lesion; surgery to remove it.

Lymphatic malformation treatment at Hopkins Children’s

Lymphatic malformations are handled by the Division of Pediatric Dermatology.

Source: NIH