Rapid Access Neck Lump Clinic – patient information

Your doctor has referred you to the Rapid Access Neck Lump Clinic. If your referral is accepted we will contact you by phone to make an appointment. 

We aim to see patients within 2 weeks of referral so if you have not heard from us after this time please contact the clinic (see contact information over page) or your GP.

What will happen at this appointment?

Your General Practitioner (GP) has arranged this appointment to find out the cause of the problems you are having with your head and/or neck.

In order to provide you with a rapid diagnostic service you may be required to remain at the hospital for much of the day. Although this may cause you some inconvenience, it may prevent further trips to and from the hospital. Furthermore, if you have a clinical condition requiring urgent treatment, it allows us to treat you sooner. 

You may like to bring a friend or relative with you for company.

Please be aware that there will be several people present during your discussion with the doctor. They all have an important part to play in your treatment and care. 

In the clinic the doctors will:
  • take a full medical history
  • perform a medical examination of your head and neck, including your ears.

Tests you may have during your first appointment

Flexible nasal endoscopic examination

This allows your doctor to look at your upper airways and food passages. The camera is a small flexible tube passed through your nose to look further into your throat. This is a very simple, quick procedure. A local anaesthetic spray can also be used to make your nose and throat numb. 

Ultrasound

This is a painless examination of your head and neck using sound waves, performed by a Sonographer or Radiologist. A probe is held to the skin and images of the underlying structures are generated using sound waves.

Fine needle aspiration (FNA)

This is a quick and simple procedure similar to having a blood test. If you have a lump, a fine needle with a syringe attached is inserted into the lump and a specimen is withdrawn. This is often performed using ultrasound to guide the needle to the correct place. The specimen is sent immediately to the laboratory to be analysed. Please inform the radiology doctors if you take any blood thinning medications.

When will I know the results?

For many patients the results will be available within a few hours. To provide you with the best service we ask that you prepare to stay at the hospital until we can give you the results. 

Further investigations

Depending upon the results, you may require further investigations or imaging to be performed.

CT and MRI Scan

These are painless examinations of your head, neck and chest using x-rays (CT) or a strong magnetic field (MRI). Please tell your doctor if you become anxious when you are in an enclosed space (claustrophobic), or if you have any metal implants in your body (Pacemaker, heart valve, screws or fixings following orthopaedic surgery). Some patients will be referred to have a CT scan the same day which may necessitate staying at the hospital longer that day.

Panendoscopy and biopsy

This allows your doctor to examine your main internal head and neck sites in more detail. Your doctor may need to take samples of tissue or fluid. This test is carried out under a general anaesthetic and you will need to be admitted to hospital either for the day (day case) or to stay overnight (inpatient). This will be performed at the hospital at the earliest opportunity but not the same day as your appointment.

Clinic contact details

Contact the Head & Neck Nurse in the Ear Nose and Throat Clinic between 8:30am–4pm, Monday to Friday. 

Phone 6152 2222 and the FSH Helpdesk will connect you.