Oral maxillo-facial, head and neck surgery

We deal with the diagnosis, treatment and management of conditions affecting the thyroid, head, face, mouth, teeth and neck.

Neck Lump and Thyroid services
Head and Neck encompasses three anatomical clinical areas:

  • neck
  • maxillofacial (oral surgery)
  • thyroid.

This is a dedicated service to prioritise and investigate any patient with a neck or thyroid mass. We run a one stop thyroid/neck lump clinic with radiologists for thyroid and other neck pathologies.

One-stop head and neck clinic
The ‘one-stop’ outpatient neck lump and thyroid service is held on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This provides greater flexibility for patients and the ability to investigate and provide treatment options of all neck and thyroid masses within the same outpatient appointment.

Initially, patients have a clinical assessment when seen in clinic. This is followed by an ultrasound guided fine needle aspiration (FNA) under the care of a dedicated consultant radiologist. Patients are then seen again in order to discuss the results of the FNA and a personalised treatment plan is put in place should further treatment is required.

A follow up appointment is given between 5 –10 working days.

All suspicious cases are discussed in the multidisciplinary team meeting with a group of experts specialising in this area.

Further specialised investigations may be required urgently to help with treatment planning. The tests may include:

  • CT scan
  • MRI scanning
  • biopsy.

Where to come for the neck lump and thyroid outpatient appointment
You will be asked to attend the outpatients department which is situated on the ground floor near the main entrance of the hospital.

Who can refer?
Your referral will be fast tracked to the cancer referral office to our neck lump and thyroid clinic if your GP or dentist finds a neck or thyroid mass. As mentioned above you will initially have the ultrasound investigation, FNA if needed and then be seen in clinic for examination and discussion of the results.

We aim to see patients within 2 weeks of referral. If an ultrasound appointment cannot be provided on the same visit another appointment is usually arranged within a week.

What to expect in this clinic
The majority of neck and thyroid masses are not cancerous (i.e. benign). If a suspicious area is noted the team will provide relevant detailed information before proceeding to other investigations.

Neck and thyroid cancers may originate from different tissues within the body, which may require treatment from specialties with whom we work closely with.  Whenever a referral is required we aim to ensure that the referral takes place in the shortest possible time.

The initial investigations are carried out at Homerton University Hospital however the treatment is provided at St Bartholomew’s’ Hospital which is now part of Barts Health NHS Trust.

Routine investigations

  • blood test: assess your general state of health
  • plain X-ray of the face: X-ray to produces images of the dense tissues inside the body such as bone
  • ultrasound scan is an investigation which uses sound waves to help build a picture of inside the body. There is no radiation involved and it very quick.
  • fine needle aspiration (FNA) is a procedure where a fine needle is inserted into the neck mass to take a sample of cells or fluid, from the mass, for microscopic analysis
  • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan uses a strong magnetic field to build a picture of the inside of the body instead of X-rays. The scan is helps to show soft tissue masses more clearly.

Visit the NHS website for more information.