Cystic hygroma facts
- Cystic hygroma (CH) is a cluster of cysts in the lymph drainage system that usually affects the head and neck of children (fetuses and newborns to age 2 years).
- Cystic hygromas are congenital malformations in the lymph system.
- The cause is unknown but may be related to genetic changes in the fetus.
- Symptoms and signs include the appearance of clusters of cysts that are sometimes visible with the naked eye and may cause breathing difficulties, feeding problems, sleep apnea, and failure to thrive.
- If the cystic hygroma is not visible, it still can be diagnosed using CT scan, MRI scan, ultrasound and other techniques.
- Although medical treatment can be used, consisting of drugs that shrink down the cysts, many clinicians prefer surgical treatment to remove all of the cystic tissue.
- Although many patients have a good outcome, there are several indicators like abnormal fluid accumulation in two more fetal compartments like heart or lungs (fetal hydrops) or thickness of the lesion wall that suggest a poor outcome.
- Cystic hygromas are very infrequently seen in adults.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/2/2015