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HealthInfo West Coast-Te Tai Poutini

Neck lumps

Repe ki te kakī

Lumps in the neck are very common and are not usually a serious problem.

Many things can cause lumps in your neck. The lumps can be in your skin, lymph nodes, thyroid gland or salivary glands.

Swollen lymph nodes are one of the common causes. You have lymph nodes all around your neck. They are part of your immune system, which fights infection. Your lymph nodes can stay swollen for several weeks after the infection has gone.

Lumps in the front of your neck may be in your thyroid gland.

If the lump is under your jaw and comes and goes when you eat, it may be from a stone in a salivary gland. Salivary glands are where you make spit (saliva) to keep your mouth moist and help with eating. You may need to have the stone removed.

Getting help for neck lumps

If you find a new neck lump, get it checked by your general practice team. This is more important if the lump feels hard, is growing or does not go away after three weeks. It is also important if you have:

Your general practice team will check the lump and decide if you need any treatment or tests.

Tests for neck lumps include taking a small sample with a fine needle aspiration (FNA), an ultrasound scan and blood tests.

The treatment for the neck lump will depend on what is causing it. It could involve treating an infection or surgery to remove the lump.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed October 2023.


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