Cervical lymphadenopathy

Neck | General Practice | Cervical lymphadenopathy (Disease)


Cervical lymphadenopathy is an enlargement of the cervical lymph nodes. Enlargement of the cervical lymph nodes commonly occurs with viral infections. These reactive nodes are usually small, firm and non-tender and they may persist for weeks to months.

Common symptoms of cervical lymphadenopathy include: swollen lymph nodes in the neck; swollen lymph nodes under the jaw; lumps under the skin; neck swelling; neck pain; difficulty moving the neck; facial swelling.

Causes and Risk factors

Acute bacterial adenitis, majority caused by Staphylococcus Aureus or Group A Streptococcus like Strep pyogenes, are a cause of cervical lymph nodes. Other causes can be conditions such as: Rubella; Cat scratch fever; Leukemia; Infectious mononucleosis; Lymphoma; Streptococcal pharyngitis; Viral respiratory infection; Toxoplasmosis; Tuberculosis; Rhabdomyosarcoma; Neuroblastoma; Lymphadenitis; Kawasaki disease; Kikuchi-Fujimoto disease. Metastasis cervical lymphadenopathy is a common problem in head and neck oncology. Most head and neck tumors spread to the neck nodes as part of their natural history.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis requires investigation such as physical exam, Computer Tomography scan (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and biopsy.

Treatment is determined by the specific underlying etiology of lymphadenopathy. Generally, the underlying cause needs to be treated, which may result in the resolution of the swollen lymph node. Treating an infection causing the swollen lymph node, for example, will result in the lymph node swelling to subside. ...