A lymphatic malformation is a mass in the head or neck that results from a blockage or defect of the lymphatic vessels as they are forming. Lymphatic vessels lie near blood vessels and help carry clear fluid from within the body to the lymph nodes and back to the bloodstream. If the lymphatic system does not form normally, the fluid is slow to travel back to the veins and extra fluid collects in the body. This leads to swollen or enlarged soft tissues and bones.
A lymphatic malformation is often present at birth. The cause is not known.
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