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Hard bump in front of ear. Not hurting but having headache. Remedy?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
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Woke up with a small bump in front of right ear. Doesn't really hurt but I have headaches. Bump is hard. When I open mouth, it also kinda sinks in. What could it be?
Posted Fri, 6 Sep 2013 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 12 days later
Hi and thank you so much for this query.

Sorry to hear about this swelling and the troubling thoughts that this has caused you. I hope together we would be able to identify a possible reason for this and relieve you of any inconveniences.

The most prominent structures in front of the ear is the parotid gland and its lymph nodes. This swelling would most likely result from a problem with this gland or one of its lymph nodes.
Salivary stone or a mucus plug may obstruct the drainage and lead to a swelling. also, this could simply represent an enlarged lymph node or a tumour of the parotid gland(most of them are non harmful tumours, benign). The painless nature of this swelling, absence of fever and other symptoms makes it less likely to be caused by an infection.

It sinks when you open the mouth because it is located over the temporo-mandibular joint which opens up when you open the mouth allowing superficial structures to sink.

The best thing to do is to monitor this swelling over a 1month period and gather more information about it. If it is a salivary stone/mucus plug, it would most likely regress. If it should persist after this time period or new symptoms like fever, pain, rapid increase in size should arise, seek immediate attention. The best specialist to consult would be an ENT for proper examination, tests, identification of exact cause and proposing a treatment plan.

I hope you find this helpful. If there are other related questions you which to ask, please feel free to do so and I will gladly address them.. I wish you good health.
Once more, thank you so much for this opportunity.
Dr. Ditah, MD
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