Objective To outline a rational approach to the management of cystic hygroma based on the authors experience, the natural history of the disease, and the results of surgical treatment. Study Design and Methods A retrospective review of all patients with the diagnosis of lymphangioma or cystic hygroma from 1958 to 2000 was performed. Results Seventy-four patients were identified with 46 cases confined to the cervicofacial region. Surgical excision was performed on 60 of the 74 cases involving all regions of the body and 34 of the 46 patients with head and neck lesions. The location of the malformation is the most important determinate for surgical success. While surgical excision was the main treatment modality, 11 of 12 untreated patients were noted to improve, with 8 patients showing complete resolution. ConclusionsIn the treatment of lymphangiomas, the physician should be experienced in the management of such lesions, be aware of spontaneous resolution, and recognize the limitations and potential harm of surgery in certain instances.
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