Review Article

An Approach to Nasopharyngeal Mass in Newborns: Case Series and Systematic Literature Review

Roee Noy, Liron Borenstein-Levin, and Arie Gordin


Objective: Congenital nasopharyngeal masses (CNMs) are rare. Presenting symptoms vary, and the differential diagnoses cover a wide spectrum of possibilities. As it is uncommon, most examples discussed in literature are described as case reports or series. Guidelines on CNM patient management do not exist. In this study, we present two (2) cases of neonates with CNMs that were encountered at our tertiary center. Additionally, to best elaborate a comprehensive, case-based approach to CNM management, we offer an up-to-date, diagnosis-to-treatment review of current literature.

Methods: Case series and systematic literature review.

Results: Twenty-eight (28) studies are included since January 2000 to October 2021, with a total of 41 cases. Most common diagnosis was teratoma (78%). Female-to-male ratio was 2.5:1. Twenty percent of cases presented prenatally with polyhydramnios or elevated alpha-fetoprotein. Postnatally, the presenting symptoms most frequently encountered were respiratory distress (78%), oral mass (52%), and feeding difficulties (29%). Seventy-five percent of affected newborns showed symptoms within the first 24 hours of life. Forty percent of cases had comorbidities, especially in the head and neck region.

Conclusions: Congenital nasopharyngeal masses can be detected antenatally, or symptomatically immediately after birth. Airway protection is a cornerstone in the management. Selecting the right imaging modality and convening a multidisciplinary team meeting are important toward the planning of next steps/therapeutic approach. Typically, a transnasal or transoral surgical approach will be deemed sufficient to address the problem, with a good overall prognosis.

Rambam Maimonides Med J 2022;13(1):e0006