Head/Neck Lumps and Masses

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What are head/neck lumps and masses?

The head-to-neck region begins at the forehead and stretches to the collarbone, and any formation of lumps and masses warrants an investigation by a specialist. It is pertinent that any development of lumps and masses is investigated to gauge the risks they pose accurately. Lumps and masses in this region could be signs of the following:

  • Diseases or conditions of the lymph nodes 
  • Infections 
  • Benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous) tumours
  • Congenital masses 
  • Lipomas

Types of abnormal growth on the human body: 



Head lumps 

Neck lumps 

Malignant tumours (cancerous) 

Benign growth (non-cancerous) 

Lumps in the cheek 

Mass near the temple or behind the ears
Lumps and masses of head/neck are abnormal growth developing anywhere between the forehead and the collarbone.

How are head/neck lumps and masses evaluated?

Upon visiting our clinic, our specialist will physically examine the lump or mass. Your medical and family history will also be recorded to determine if you are at risk of any specific health conditions. 

Depending on location, the characteristics and size of the lump and mass, you will be advised to undergo the required tests to obtain an accurate diagnosis. These may include: 

  • Imaging tests: such as an ultrasound, will aid in visualising the mass or lump beneath the skin to better inform your specialist about the growth characteristics. 
  • Blood tests: such as thyroid screening, will detect abnormalities in the thyroid. Additionally, a complete blood count may be requested to obtain insight if there is a rise in tumour markers or a presence of infection.
  • Biopsy: such as the ultrasound-guided fine needle biopsy of thyroid nodules may be required to determine if the lump or mass is cancerous or is indicative of other health conditions. 
Thyroid ultrasound
An ultrasound is typically conducted as a primary investigation to clarify the characteristic lumps and masses.

Following the evaluation, your endocrinologist may recommend the required surgery to resect or remove the lump and mass. However, this depends on the exact nature of the lump and mass. Where an infection is present, you may simply require a cycle of antibiotics. If the abnormal growth is indicative of cancer, you will be prescribed the appropriate cancer treatment. 

The exact surgery required and justifications for said surgery can only be provided by an ACE specialist. Visit us now to learn about the treatment path that is best suited for your condition. 

What type of surgery may be necessary for head-neck lumps and masses?

Depending on your diagnosis, an evaluation for head-neck lumps and masses will dictate the specific surgery you may be required to undergo. 

If you suffer from a salivary gland disorder, schedule an appointment with ACE Specialist Surgery and Endoscopy for a detailed medical assessment and personalised treatment options.

Benefits of evaluation and surgery for head-neck lumps and masses 

  • Provides clarity and definitive diagnosis of abnormal growth 
  • Reduces pain or discomfort caused by growth 
  • Improves confidence and self-esteem 
  • Provides an opportunity to introduce appropriate treatment 
  • Improves quality of life 
  • Avoids the progression of the underlying condition 

What results can I expect?

Head and neck lumps and masses tend to cause patients discomfort physically and psychologically. The evaluation and treatment via surgery will relieve and empower patients to live unencumbered lives. Additionally, the presence and continued growth of an unknown mass or lump tends to instil fear and anxiety in many patients. An evaluation and subsequent surgery will help you overcome these negative emotions. 

Most importantly, an evaluation and surgery for head or neck lumps and masses introduces an opportunity to avoid the progression of the disease. When left unattended, these growths may become infected, cause nerve and sensory complications, exacerbate hormone dysregulation, and cause many other secondary health issues. Fundamentally, this treatment will preserve and improve your quality of life. 

You can expect a well-informed and collaborative effort in addressing any lump and masses with ACE Specialist Surgery and Endoscopy. You will be provided with a customised treatment plan after the evaluation and a recovery plan upon completion of surgery. 

How many treatment sessions are needed to manage head/neck lumps and masses? 

The required number of sessions will fully depend upon your diagnosis. If the underlying cause of lumps and masses cannot be identified during the primary investigation, you will be requested to return to conduct the secondary tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or a biopsy. Evaluation can be extensive if your condition is particularly critical. 

As for surgery, this is usually a one-off procedure. However, if masses and lumps are large or distributed in a few different areas (such as metastasis of cancerous tumours), follow-up surgery may be required to treat the condition adequately. 

You may not be required to undergo surgery in cases of mild infection. Instead, you may be required to visit us again to evaluate if the infection has been cleared and ensure your condition improves. 

The exact frequency of sessions will be discussed by our specialist to ensure you are well informed on the extent of dedication and commitment it will take to address any lumps and masses. You will be guided until the optimum level of recovery is achieved. 

If you suffer from a salivary gland disorder, schedule an appointment with ACE Specialist Surgery and Endoscopy for a detailed medical assessment and personalised treatment options. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are neck lumps normal?

Neck lumps are relatively common and are often non-cancerous. However, it is important to have it evaluated by a specialist to ensure it is harmless. We advise against self-diagnosis, particularly if neck lumps or masses do not disappear within 2 weeks, continue to grow, or feel hard when pressed. 

Which doctor do I see for a lump growing on my head?

Our specialist will be able to assess the lump growing past the forehead to the collarbone as this indicates issues in lymph, salivary and thyroid glands or issues in the arteries, veins, nerves or lymphatic vessels. You will be referred to the appropriate specialist if the lump grows on the scalp and indicates brain or spine cancer or any other neurological condition. It is of utmost importance that a qualified medical practitioner has assessed the growth, and rest assured, you will directed towards the best treatment path accordingly. 

What is the difference between mass and lump?

Mass and lumps are terms typically used interchangeably. A mass can be understood as a large growth, often used to describe a tumour. A lump, on the other hand, could be smaller and softer to the touch. Upon further examination, your specialist will be able to determine the exact characteristics of the abnormal growth. 

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Reyaz Moiz

Dr Reyaz Singaporewalla
Senior Consultant Endocrine and General Surgeon

MBBS (Bom), MS (Surg), DNB (Surg), FRCS (Edin), MMed (Singapore), FRCSEd.