Search Menu
Search entire library by keyword
Choose by letter to browse topics
A B C D E F G H I J K LM N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0-9
(A-Z listing includes diseases, conditions, tests and procedures)

Congenital Head and Neck Masses

What are congenital head and neck masses?

Congenital head and neck masses are lumps (cysts) in the neck, face, scalp or ear that are present at birth. Many of these should be removed to prevent infection. The most common congenital head and neck masses are dermoid cysts, branchial cleft cysts and thyroglossal duct cysts.

Dermoid cysts are usually found on the scalp, face or neck. Dermoid cysts need to be removed because they can grow larger or become infected.

Branchial cleft cysts develop in the neck of young children. Branchial cleft cysts are surgically removed to prevent infection.

Thyroglossal duct cysts are lumps in the middle of the neck near the Adam’s apple or under the chin. Removal is typically required to prevent infection.


Symptoms include lumps or bumps anywhere on the scalp, neck and head.


  • Physical exam
  • Ultrasound
  • CT scan or other imaging
  • Biopsy or removal


Many lesions are removed with surgery.

When to Call for Help

Call your pediatrician if you notice any of the above symptoms in your child.

Find a physician at another Johns Hopkins Member Hospital:
Connect with a Treatment Center:
Find Additional Treatment Centers at:
woman holding pill case

Johns Hopkins Home Care

We provide high quality, individualized care for patients of all ages where you feel most comfortable – your home or community. Our services and equipment are designed to help you regain and retain a level of independence.

Learn More