Giant Neck Mass Diagnosis and Treatment at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

May 19, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Health News
Philadelphia, Pa – May 2007 - As The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia prepares for the 2008 launch of the Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit, the world's first comprehensive medical unit for mothers carrying a fetus with a known birth defect, we are proud to share our medical expertise concerning the diagnosis and treatment of teratomas, or giant neck masses.

Each year, a few expectant families learn that their unborn baby has a giant neck mass that will compromise the baby’s breathing ability after delivery. In addition to obstructing the fetal airway, neck masses can lead to an accumulation of excess amniotic fluid, which in turn can result in preterm labor for the mother. Giant neck masses can grow to such large proportions that the fetal airway becomes distorted and obstructed. In a small number of patients with cervical teratomas, one type of neck mass, the lungs are pulled up towards the neck – which results in small lungs. Unsuspected obstructive fetal neck masses are often fatal because of an inability to secure an airway and ventilate the baby within minutes of delivery. Prenatal diagnosis is paramount. Fortunately, most children with giant neck masses have an isolated anomaly and do well if managed with careful prenatal evaluation, prenatal monitoring, and surgery using the Ex Utero Intrapartum Therapy (EXIT) procedure.

The Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at the Children’s Hospital has pioneered in the development of the EXIT procedure for the management of giant neck masses. The EXIT procedure provides time to secure an airway while the baby is still attached to the umbilical cord. More information on giant neck masses is available at