Hygromas in Babies The presence of a lump in the neck of a newborn can indicate a cystic hygroma. The shape of the lump caused by this condition can resemble a fluid-filled sac (cyst). Let’s get to know more about what a cystic hygroma is and its causes, symptoms, and how to treat it below.

What is a cystic hygroma?

A cystic hygroma is an abnormal growth and can appear on a baby’s neck or head.

In general, this condition is characterized by the appearance of one or more cysts that tend to enlarge over time.

Most cases of cystic hygroma occur while the baby is in the womb (at the 9th or 16th week of pregnancy). Even so, this condition can also occur when a new baby is born.

A cystic hygroma can result from a blockage in the lymphatic system, which is the tissue that helps move fluid throughout the body and transports white blood cells.

Of the most cases of cystic hygroma, nearly half of the fetuses that suffer from it have a chromosomal abnormality.

If not treated immediately, cystic hygroma is considered to increase the risk of miscarriage and even threaten the life of the fetus.

Hygromas in Babies Causes of cystic hygroma

The exact cause of a cystic hygroma is not known. However, cysts that form as a result of this condition can appear when the lymphatic system is damaged during fetal development in the womb.

Damage to the lymphatic system can cause lymph fluid to become trapped under the skin, where it should be drained through the bloodstream.

As a result, fluid-filled cystic lumps may appear on the neck or head of the fetus/baby.

In addition, cystic hygroma can occur due to environmental and lifestyle factors, such as smoking and consuming alcohol during pregnancy.

Genetic changes or mutations that affect the development of the lymphatic system are also considered to cause this condition.

Cystic hygromas usually form in the absence of other medical conditions.

In some cases, this medical condition is accompanied by a genetic condition, such as Down syndrome, Turner syndrome, or Noonan syndrome.

In adults, cystic hygromas are commonly caused by trauma and respiratory infections.

Hygromas in Babies Symptoms of a cystic hygroma

Symptoms of a cystic hygroma will be based on the size and location of the cyst. In general, the following are the symptoms of a cystic hygroma that can occur.

  • The appearance of a lump under the skin
  • Bluish skin over the cyst
  • Cysts that feel soft
  • The appearance of cysts in the neck (but can also appear anywhere on the body)
  • The size of the cyst is like a grape that can enlarge as the baby grows. In the meantime, here are some of the symptoms of a severe cystic hygroma.
  • Physical damage to body parts
  • Damage to bones or organs
  • Difficulty eating
  • Shortness of breath (airway obstruction)
  • Bleeding
  • Infection

If a cystic hygroma occurs while the baby is still in the womb, there is a risk of miscarriage or stillbirth due to the cyst affecting the development and growth of the fetus.

The reason is, cysts due to cystic hygroma are believed to cause excess fluid in the body of the fetus and lead to premature death.