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Ask Dr. Arun Phophalia Your Own Question
Dr. Arun Phophalia
Dr. Arun Phophalia, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 31330
Experience:  MBBS, MS (General Surgery), Fellowship in Sports Medicine
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I have a small lump on the left side of my head, above my ear.

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I have a small lump on the left side of my head, above my ear. It feels very hard like a piece of cartilige and there is not an equivalent one on the other side. It is quite mobile. Its length (<1cm) is bigger than its width. There is also a thinner more stringy tenXXXXX XXXXXke ridge just beneath it. I have asked the GP about this. Firstly, the GP said there are tendons in that area. However, there is not one on the other side and there is nothing on web to suggest that there are tendons high up on the side of the head. So I asked another GP who said it could be lymph node. Again, there is nothing to suggest that you get lymph nodes so high up on the head. So I asked another GP, who agreed that it was too high to be a lypmh node and just said it was a piece of gristle and nothing to worry about. It does not concern me, I would just like to know what it is. Is there any way of finding out? Also, what does a GP mean by ‘a piece of gristle’. Is this slang for a cyst? Grateful for any advice.



This lump can be;


1) Lipofibroma

2) Dermoid cyst

3) Osteoma; bony benign over growth common on face and skull bones.


All are benign and usually not need removal unless cause cosmetic concerns.


I am not sure what he meant with the 'a piece of gristle.'


Please feel free for your follow up questions.


Dr. Arun

Dr. Arun Phophalia and 6 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for this helpful response. Could you answer one question please. What is the only way you could know which one of these it could be for sure? an ultrasound? or to remove a sample? I dont intend to pursue this, I am just interested how you could actually find out. Thanks.

You are most welcome,


An ultrasound would be the best modality. The other helpful measure can be x-ray and / or needle aspiration of the lump.


It is pleasure and privilege assisting you.


Dr. Arun

Edited by Dr. Arun Phophalia on 4/7/2010 at 12:41 PM EST
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thanks again.


Finally, would you be absolutely rule out it being a swollen lymph node as it is above the ear?

You are very welcome,


It is very unlikely to be the site of a lymph node, so I would rule it out to be a lymph node.


Dr. Arun



Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thanks. And the other thing I mentioned, which was the long, stringy ridge just underneath the lump, like a tendon. Can you have tendons in this area as the first GP suggested. I have these stringy tendons lower down just above the ear but are these the same things this high up?





No. There are no tendons at this place.




Dr. Arun

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
So the long stringy thing I describe that feels exactly like the tendons just above the ear. Could this be a similar thing to the lump, or perhaps a blood vessel that I can feel. Grateful for further advice, and that will be my last question! many thanks.

A blood vessel is a possibility. There is a blood vessel usually there.


Dr. Arun