A neck mass is an abnormal lump in the neck. A neck mass may be caused by infection, a benign tumor, or a cancerous tumor. A neck mass from infection should go away completely when the infection goes away. If it does not, your healthcare provider will help you to choose tests to determine the cause of your neck mass.
Once each week use your fingertips to check the size of the mass. How wide is the mass? One fingertip wide? Two fingertips wide? How does that compare to the size last time you checked? The mass should get smaller over time. A mass due to infection should go away completely typically in two or three weeks. Contact your provider if:
Notify your provider if you have:
You and your provider may stay in contact by phone, through electronic messages, by mail, or in person at the provider’s office. You may need to go back to your provider’s office for a repeat examination. No matter how you follow up with your provider, be sure that the mass has gone away. If the mass does not go away, your provider will help you decide what to do next.
Pynnonen, MA, Gillespie, MB, Rosenfeld RM, et al. Clinical Practice Guideline: Evaluation of the Neck Mass in Adult. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2017; 157(2 Suppl):S1-S30.