It is a congenital anomaly of the lymphatic system. It is the enlargement of these channels as a result of the disorder in the lymph channels. 60-70% are present at birth, 90% appear by 2-3 years of age. It is most common in the head and neck region.
There are three types of lymphangioma. The types we call lymphangioma simplex and cavernous lymphangioma are on the lips, tongue, tongue root and cheek. The third type, cystic hygroma, is almost always seen on the neck and can extend to the base of the skull and the thorax. Cystic hygroma is most common in the posterior triangle of the neck. Those that appear at birth are larger, those that appear after the age of 3 do not grow much.
Cystic hygroma appears as a painless, soft, pasty mass in the neck. Except for cosmetic deformity, it usually does not give any symptoms. Bleeding into the cyst can cause a sudden increase in the size of the lesion. Diagnosis is made by clinical findings, ultrasonography and computed tomography.
Since the cystic hygroma does not regress spontaneously, it must be surgically removed.