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Noticed swollen collarbone. Have had alcohol. What could be the cause?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 2572 Questions
I just looked in the mirror and was surprised to see the area above my collarbone suddenly swollen on both sides, shockingly swollen. It wasn't there a couple of hours ago! I did have an alcoholic beverage, but only one, I am not a heavy drinker nor a daily drinker.
Posted Wed, 15 Aug 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Prasad 2 hours later

Thanks for posting this query.

I understand you are concerned with this sudden onset swelling of the area above the collar bone. I shall try and provide some explanations about the swelling.

The most common cause of sudden onset swelling in and around the neck region is lymph node unless proved otherwise. This usually occurs as a result of inflammation. Other causes include subcutaneous emphysema secondary to trauma/bruising. There is no relation between alcohol consumption and this swelling though.

I wouldn't be concerned if you are not experiencing any of the symptoms such as pain / tenderness, redness, itching, fever, etc. I would however suggest you to monitor this for next few days. If the swelling persist or grows further, it warrants a physical examination and ultrasound of the swelling to determine the nature of the swelling and its causes.

At this moment, I feel what you have is a benign and sinister problem, so do not worry. Drink enough fluids and rest well.

Hope this is reassuring. Let me know if you have any more concerns.

Dr. Prasad
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