Surgery for a Neck Lump

What is it?

This type of surgery may take on many forms. It may be removal of a single lump or may involve removal of all of the lymph nodes from one side of the neck (called a neck dissection). It may be done for cancers in the region or it may be done for benign lumps.

How is it done?

Neck surgery is done under general anaesthesia. Depending on the aims of the operation and extent of surgery required it might take from 30 minutes up to 3 hours. These operations do require an incision on the neck and hence there will be a scar on the neck (see here for advice about scar management). It is important to be aware that there are a number of important nerves in the neck that may be at risk during this type of surgery. Hence these are best performed by an experienced head and neck surgeon. The nerves that go to the shoulder, the tongue and the corner of the mouth are all close by where these operations occur. In addition the main blood vessels to and from the brain pass through the neck and may be close to the site of your surgery.

What happens after surgery?

Neck surgery usually requires anywhere up to 4-5 nights in hospital. You will have a drain in the neck that collects any excess fluid. Once this drains dries up it is removed and then you are safe for discharge from hospital.

What do I do when I get home?

Like any surgery you need to avoid overly strenuous exercise. Normal daily activities are fine but anything above this should be avoided.

Read further detailed post-operative instructions.

When will I see you again?

I usually see you 1 week after surgery. At this time the results of the pathology from the operation will be available and we can discuss those. Also any stitches can be removed and I can review the appearance of the surgical site at that time.