Otolaryngology Online Journal

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Congenital hairy polyp presenting with severe respiratory distress in a neonate

Webinar on Otorhinolaryngology: ENT Surgery and Cosmetics
February 09, 2022

Austen Anderson

Detroit Medical Center, USA

Keynote : Otolaryngology Online


Congenital hairy polyps are rare benign lesions that typically present as oropharyngeal masses in the neonate. Depending on the size and location of the mass, the presentation may vary from mild feeding difficulties to lifethreatening respiratory distress due a ball-valve occlusive effect of the tumor in the upper airway. Diagnostic modalities include soft-tissue imaging such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or direct visualization with laryngoscopy, which typically reveal pedunculated masses arising from the soft tissues of the oropharynx. Transoral surgical resection is curative, with prompt diagnosis and treatment conferring an excellent prognosis. We present here a case of severe, life-threatening respiratory distress in a neonate with an oropharyngeal mass diagnosed on direct laryngoscopy and confirmed with MRI, which was treated with transoral surgical resection. The neonate made a full recovery and was discharged home without any further complications. Pathologic studies confirmed the diagnosis of congenital hairy polyp. This case underscores the importance of considering benign oropharyngeal masses such as congenital hairy polyps in the differential diagnosis of otherwise healthy full-term neonates presenting with severe respiratory distress. Diagnostic modalities should include MRI to rule out intracranial extension and direct visualization with laryngoscopy can be helpful in planning and achieving definitive treatment with transoral surgical resection. Due to the rarity of this developmental lesion, surgical pathology should be utilized to achieve a definitive diagnosis.


Austen Anderson completed his master’s in biomedical sciences from the university of northern colorado before going on to complete his doctor of osteopathic medicine from rocky vista university college of osteopathic medicine of colorado, USA. He is an Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery resident at detroit medical center which is affiliated with wayne state university in detroit, Michigan in the USA.

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