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December 18, 2015 / drjamesfreije

A Brief Overview of Cystic Hygroma

Cystic Hygroma pic

Cystic Hygroma
Image: medicalpicturesinfo.com

A dedicated otolaryngology and head and neck surgeon, Dr. James Freije currently treats adults and children as an associate at Mount Nittany Physician Group in State College, Pennsylvania. Possessing more than two decades of experience in his field, Dr. James Freije is familiar with a wide range of medical issues, including cystic hygroma.

The result of an error during the development of lymph vessels and sacs in a fetus, cystic hygromas are fluid-filled sacs found either individually or as a group in the neck. Although they can develop during a person’s life, they are most often associated with fetuses between nine and 16 weeks of pregnancy. If left untreated in a fetus, cystic hygroma may advance to hydrops and possibly fetal death. They may also cause edema, webbed neck, or a lymphangioma and, in some cases, may grow larger than the fetus itself.

Cystic hygromas may result from genetic, environmental, or unknown factors. Maternal viral infections or substance abuse are possible environmental causes, while Noonan syndrome and chromosome abnormalities are possible genetic causes. Most often, cystic hygromas are detected during routine ultrasounds once the mother is around 10 weeks pregnant. However, they can also be found through blood testing done at 15 or 20 weeks of pregnancy to check for the mother’s alpha-fetoprotein levels.

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