Surgical treatment for nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) cervicofacial lymphadenitis in children.
To compare surgical excision with surgical curettage in the treatment of nontuberculous mycobacterial (NMT) cervicofacial lymphadenitis in children. Fifty children, 22 boys and 28 girls, with a PCR- or cultured-confirmed diagnosis of cervicofacial NTM infection were included in the study. Twenty-five children were randomized to surgical excision of the involved lymph nodes, and 25 children to surgical curettage. The median age of the children was 36 months (range, 14-120 months). All children had a red, fluctuating lymphadenitis, and there were no marked differences between the treatment groups with respect to mean duration of lymph node swelling before presentation, location, and the size of the lymph node swelling. Most (84%) of the involved nodes were located in the submandibular region and 6% were located in the preauricular region. Multiple locations (both preauricular and submandibular) were observed in the remaining 10%. Mycobacterium avium (74%) and Mycobacterium haemophilum (22%) were the predominant NTM species. Mean wound healing time for the excision group was 3.6 ± 1.2 weeks versus 11.4 ± 5.1 weeks for the curettage group (P ≤ .05). Postoperative transient marginal mandibular nerve weakness of the facial nerve was seen in 4 patients (16%) of the excision group. In all these patients the function of the nerve returned to normal within 12 weeks. No facial nerve problems were observed in the curettage group. Postoperative infections were not observed. Surgical excision leads to a quick resolution of NTM cervicofacial lymphadenitis. Curettage leads to delayed healing but might be considered as an alternative if excision of the necrotized lymph nodes is technically difficult in cases of adherence of the facial nerve branche. Copyright © 2012 American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.