Management of nontuberculous mycobacteria-induced cervical lymphadenitis with observation alone

Avraham Zeharia, Tal Eidlitz-Markus, Yishai Haimi-Cohen, Zmira Samra, Lea Kaufman, Jacob Amir*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND:: Nontuberculous mycobacteria can cause a chronic localized cervicofacial lymphadenitis in immunocompetent children. The recommended treatment is total excision of the affected lymph node. The aim of this study was to describe our experience with an observational approach. METHODS:: Children with chronic nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) cervical lymphadenitis, whose parents opted for conservative treatment, were followed at our center from 1990 to 2004. The diagnosis of NTM was based on mycobacterial culture of lymph node specimens obtained by fine needle aspiration. The clinical laboratory and follow-up data were documented. RESULTS:: Ninety-two children with lymph node positive cultures of nontuberculous mycobacterium were included in the study. Mycobacterium avium complex and Mycobacterium hemophilum were isolated in 90% of the cultures. In most cases, the affected lymph nodes underwent violaceous changes with discharge of purulent material for 3-8 weeks. Total resolution was achieved within 6 months in 71% of patients and within 9-12 months in the remainder. At the 2-year follow-up, a skin-colored, flat scar in the region of the drainage was noted. There were no complications. CONCLUSIONS:: We suggest that the observational approach can be effective for managing NTM lymphadenitis in immunocompetent children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)920-922
Number of pages3
JournalPediatric Infectious Disease Journal
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2008


  • Lymphadenitis
  • Mycobacterium avium complex
  • Mycobacterium haemophilum
  • Observational management


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