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Management of cervical lymphadenitis in children.

Carolinas Medical Center, Eastland Department of Family Medicine, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA.
American family physician (Impact Factor: 1.82). 12/2008; 78(9):1097-8.
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: The lymph nodes are an essential part of the body's immune system and as such are affected in many infectious, autoimmune, metabolic and malignant diseases. The cervical lymph nodes are particularly important because they are the first drainage stations for key points of contact with the outside world (mouth/throat/nose/eyes/ears/respiratory system) - a critical aspect especially among children - and can represent an early clinical sign in their exposed position on a child's slim neck. Involvement of the lymph nodes in multiple conditions is accompanied by a correspondingly large number of available diagnostic procedures. In the interests of time, patient wellbeing and cost, a careful choice of these must be made to permit appropriate treatment. The basis of diagnostic decisions is a detailed anamnesis and clinical examination. Sonography also plays an important role in differential diagnosis of lymph node swelling in children and is useful in answering one of the critical diagnostic questions: is there a suspicion of malignancy? If so, full dissection of the most conspicuous lymph node may be necessary to obtain histological confirmation. Diagnosis and treatment of childhood cervical lymph node disorders present the attending pediatric and ENT physicians with some particular challenges. The spectrum of differential diagnoses and the varying degrees of clinical relevance - from banal infections to malignant diseases - demand a clear and considered approach to the child's individual clinical presentation. Such an approach is described in the following paper.
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