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Cystic hygroma

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Cystic hygroma is a birth defect that causes a soft mass, often in the head and neck area.[1] It may be discovered in a fetus during a pregnancy ultrasound, in a newborn, or it may not become evident until later in life.[1][2] When a cystic hygroma is identified in a fetus, parents are counseled regarding their baby's risk for having a chromosome problem or other birth defect, and are offered additional testing options such as special ultrasound tests or amniocentesis.[1] Cystic hygromas in infants, children, or adults may enlarge or become infected, and may require surgery or other therapy to remove or shrink the mass.[2][3]
Last updated: 3/4/2010


  1. Cystic hygroma. MedlinePlus. 2009; Accessed 3/4/2010.
  2. Warner BW. Pediatric surgery. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Foshee JC, Evers BM, Mattox KL. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery, 18th ed. Philadelphia PA: Saunders; 2007;
  3. Rahbar R, McGill TJ, Mulliken JB. Vascular tumors and malformations of the head and neck. In: Cummings. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery, 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby, Inc; 2005;
  4. Gross E, Sichel J. Congenital Neck Lesion. Surgical Clinics of North America. April 2006;
  5. Christison-Lagay ER, Fishman SJ. Vascular Anomalies. Surgical Clinics of North America. April 2006;
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  • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) is a federation of more than 130 nonprofit voluntary health organizations serving people with rare disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.

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  • eMedicine has two articles on this topic from the perspective of obstetrics and gynecology and otolaryngology. You may need to register to view the information online, but registration is free. Click on the links above to view the articles from this medical reference Web site.
  • The Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is an catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Cystic hygroma. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.