Adult Onset Giant Cystic Hygroma with Rapid Growth: A Rare Presentation

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Published: 2021-08-09

Page: 19-23

Rohit Bhardwaj *

ENT Department, Army College of Medical Sciences & Base Hospital, Delhi Cantt-10, India.

Priti Lal

ENT Department, RML Hospital, New Delhi, India.

Gul Motwani

ENT Department, VMMC and Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, India.

Karthika Nathan

Department of Otorhinolaryngology, VMMC and Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, India.

Chirayata Basu

Department of Otorhinolaryngology, VMMC and Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, India.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Introduction: Cystic hygroma / cystic lymphangioma is a benign lymphatic tumour, affecting early age group, usually less than 2 years. It rarely affects adults, and thus only few case reports exist in literature. The preferred site of occurrence is posterior triangle. The usual growth rate of cystic hygroma is slow, (extending over weeks to months) but rarely rapid growth patterns have also been observed.

Case Presentation: We present a rare case of cystic hygroma in an elderly male, who developed a right sided lateral neck swelling which progressed very rapidly over a span of 16 weeks. Swelling discomforted him cosmetically along with causing pressure symptoms on airway and digestive tract. Clinical, histopathological and radiological examination helped us to conclude the diagnosis. The complete surgical excision was done. Patient has been under follow up for two years and is free of disease.

Conclusion: Cystic hygroma is a congenital, benign lymphatic malformation of children which grows slowly. It rarely affects adults. Rapid growth rate is also rare. Available treatment options include surgical excision, laser surgery, steroid administration, sclerotherapy, cryotherapy, electrocautery, embolization, and radiation therapy. Long term follow up is usually needed for early detection of recurrence, which can be as high as 21%.

Keywords: Cystic hygroma / lymphangioma, lymphatic malformation, posterior triangle, cryotherapy, sclerotherapy

How to Cite

Bhardwaj, R., Lal, P., Motwani, G., Nathan, K., & Basu, C. (2021). Adult Onset Giant Cystic Hygroma with Rapid Growth: A Rare Presentation. Asian Journal of Medical Case Reports, 3(1), 19–23. Retrieved from


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