What causes a chin lump?
Chin lumps have many possible causes, including trauma, infections, inflammatory diseases, benign cysts and tumors, and cancers.
Traumatic causes of chin lumps
Minor and severe injuries, as well as internal trauma, can result in a localized swelling or lump including:
- Broken bones
- Fractured jaw
- Head injury
- Hematoma (collection of blood in body tissues)
- Insect sting or bite injuries
Infectious causes of lumps
An infection may produce one or more lumps in the form of a localized abscess or as a diffuse enlargement of lymph nodes. Infectious causes of lumps include:
- Herpes virus infections
- Mononucleosis (a type of viral infection)
- Mumps (viral infection of the salivary glands in the neck)
- Papillomavirus infections (warts)
- Upper respiratory virus infection, including the common cold
Tumors or cysts that can cause chin lumps
Both benign and malignant tumors, or cysts, can cause lumps including:
- Fibroma (a benign tumor composed of fibrous or connective tissue)
- Lipoma (a benign fatty growth)
- Lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system)
- Melanoma (cancer arising in the melanocytes, or pigment-producing cells, in the skin or other parts of the body)
- Nevi (moles of the skin)
- Nonmelanoma skin cancers
- Sarcoma (malignant tumor of the soft tissues)
- Thyroid cancer
- Tumors or cysts of the jawbone
Serious or life-threatening causes of chin lumps
In some cases, a chin lump may be a symptom of a serious or life-threatening condition such as cancer that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting.
Questions for diagnosing the cause of a chin lump
To diagnose your condition, your doctor or licensed health care practitioner will ask you several questions related to your chin lump including:
- How long have you had the lump?
- Are you experiencing any other symptoms along with the lump?
- Is the lump getting bigger?
- Is the lump painful?
What are the potential complications of a chin lump?
Chin lumps caused by cancer may have life-threatening consequences, depending on the type and stage (extent) of the cancer. Left untreated, lumps due to abscesses or serious infections may lead to widespread infection in the body. Following your treatment plan for serious causes of lumps can help reduce your risk of complications including:
- Spread of cancer
- Sepsis (life-threatening bacterial blood infection)
- Sebaceous cyst. PubMed Health, a service of the NLM from the NIH. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001845/.
- Swollen lymph nodes. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003097.htm.
- Mueller DT, Callanan VP. Congenital malformations of the oral cavity. Otolaryngol Clin North Am 2007; 40:141.
What is a chin lump?
A chin lump is a protuberance or localized area of swelling that can occur anywhere on the chin. Other terms used to describe the various types of chin lumps include bump, nodule, contusion, tumor and cyst. Lumps can be caused by many conditions, including infections, inflammation, tumors or trauma. Depending on the cause, lumps may be single or multiple, soft or firm, painful or painless. They... Read more about chin lumpintroduction
What other symptoms might occur with a chin lump?
A chin lump may be accompanied by other symptoms, depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition that is responsible for the lump. Certain conditions that cause lumps may also involve other body systems.