46 Neck swelling
These commonly arise in cervical lymph nodes but may occasionally arise elsewhere (Table 46.1).
There are approximately 300 cervical lymph nodes (about one-third of the body’s lymphoid tissue). Lymphadenopathy, the term meaning “disease of lymph nodes” is often used synonymously with “swollen/ enlarged lymph nodes”; it generally signifies pathology in the local area of drainage (Table 46.2), usually an infection, when the term “lymphadenitis” is appropriate, but sometimes it is caused by malignancy (Figure 46.1).
Lymphadenitis is the most common cause of cervical lymphadenopathy, and of a swelling in the neck (Figure 46.2).
Cervical lymphadenitis in isolation usually arises because of an immune response to an infectious agent. The nodes are then often firm, discrete and tender, but are mobile. The responsible focus can usually be found in the drainage area (Table 46.2). Any bacterial in/>