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Noticed hard movable lump at the base of skull. What could it be?

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Practicing since : 2006
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I have a 2 yr old son. Earlier today I noticed him rubbing the base of his skull and his left ear. Now that it is midnight and he has climbed in my bed, I was rubbing his hair and found a golf ball sized swollen area and a more pronounced harder, smaller, moveable lump at the base of the skull near the left ear lobe. What could this be?
Posted Mon, 31 Dec 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Kaushik K Murthy 47 minutes later

Thanks for writing to us.

I went through your query with diligence. Without a detailed clinical examination, it would be difficult to predict the cause for such bumps. However based on your description, the following is my comments:

A swelling as large as golf ball size is unlikely to appear overnight all of a sudden unless there was history of trauma. If there was no trauma, then the possibility that this may have been there unnoticed for a few days cannot be ruled out. Therefore I feel this bump was present a few days earlier and such bumps may be related to lymph node swelling or a dermoid cyst.

In all possibilities, these lumps are a less sinister one. I suggest you to look for smaller swelling possibly present in and around his neck jaw and scalp. Presence of multiple lumps is consistent with lymph node swelling.

Though I mentioned this to be not concerning, you will need to watch for increase in size over a period of time, watch for tenderness, watch for change in colour and temperature of the swelling. Medical attention would be needed immediately if such associated symptoms develop.

Hope this helps. I will be glad to address any follow up queries should you have any.

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