What is neck swelling?

Neck swelling is an accumulation of fluid in the neck tissues or inflammation in the neck. Neck inflammation can arise from an infection, injury, or a recent medical procedure. Benign skin conditions can cause small areas of the neck to appear swollen. Swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck is a common symptom of many different types of viral and bacterial infections. Thyroid gland enlargement is a familiar cause of neck swelling in adults. In rare cases, neck swelling can be a result of cancer.

In mild cases of neck swelling, treatment may not be required. If the neck swelling is bothersome, over-the-counter medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs or pain medications or cold compresses may help reduce discomfort and swelling. In more serious cases, a visit to a medical professional may be necessary to determine the cause of neck swelling and appropriate treatment.

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if your symptoms of neck swelling, or those of someone you are with, are accompanied by sudden swelling of the face, lips, or tongue, or breathing problems such as shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, labored breathing, wheezing, not breathing, or choking. These symptoms may be signs of a severe allergic reaction. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, develop a high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit) and have difficulty swallowing, as your neck swelling may be related to mumps, a serious viral disease, or another serious infection.

If your neck swelling is painful, persistent, or causes you concern, seek prompt medical care.


SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with neck swelling?

Neck swelling may accompany other symptoms that vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition.

Skin symptoms that may occur along with neck swelling

Neck swelling may accompany other symptoms affecting the skin including:

CAUSES

What causes neck swelling?

Neck swelling can arise from infection of the skin or other structures, which can lead to fluid accumulation, inflammation, swelling, or swollen lymph nodes of the neck. Swelling may also occur as a result of a recent neck injury or surgery.

In serious cases, neck swelling may be due to mumps (a viral infection of the salivary glands in the neck), or a serious allergic reaction. I... Read more about neck swellingcauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 6, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Ear, Nose and Throat


Popular Ear, Nose and Throat Slide Show