Pediatric Nodular Fasciitis in the Head and Neck: Evaluation and Management

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Abstract

IMPORTANCE

Nodular fasciitis is a rare benign tumor that can present in the head and neck in children. A better understanding of this rare condition is critical to optimize management.

OBJECTIVE

To review the presentation, evaluation, diagnosis, and management of pediatric nodular fasciitis of the head and neck.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS

Retrospective review of all patients treated for nodular fasciitis of the head and neck over a 20-year period at a pediatric tertiary care center.

INTERVENTION

Surgical excision.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES

Clinical data, including age, presenting symptoms, anatomical site(s), evaluation, treatment, and complications.

RESULTS

Fifteen children with pathologically confirmed nodular fasciitis of the head and neck were identified, including 8 boys and 7 girls. The median (range) age at diagnosis was 9.3 years (2 months to 18 years). Patients most commonly presented with a firm, enlarging soft-tissue mass. Two patients reported pain, and 1 patient presented with erythema. The most common location was the maxillofacial region (5 patients). Other locations included the scalp (3 patients), forehead (2 patients), neck (2 patients), mandible (1 patient), postauricular region (1 patient), and nasal dorsum (1 patient). One patient reported a preceding trauma, and 1 patient, a preceding infection. Presurgical imaging varied; imaging modalities used included computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, radiography, ultrasound, and sialography. All patients underwent surgical excision, which focused on excising the mass while preserving surrounding normal tissues. Mean (range) follow-up was 7.69 (0-46) months. Two minor complications were reported: 1 patient who underwent a near-total excisional biopsy experienced residual firmness and tenderness at the site of the lesion and another patient was left with an unfavorable cosmetic scar that necessitated intralesional steroid injection. No patient demonstrated recurrence at follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE

Although an uncommon diagnosis, nodular fasciitis should be considered in the evaluation and treatment of head and neck soft-tissue masses in children. Preoperative imaging is nonspecific and variable. Pathological findings are necessary for diagnosis. Surgical excisional biopsy is curative, with no instances of recurrence in our series.

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