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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?
Wed, 2 Jan 2013 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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