Mass effect (medicine)

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Mass effect (medicine)

Template:Search infobox Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


The mass effect is the effect of a growing mass on surrounding structures. Examples include the consequences of growing tissue, blood or edema in a confined space. This may cause surrounding structures to shift or be compressed.

For example, cancer of the thyroid gland may cause symptoms due to compressions of certain structures of the head and neck; pressure on the laryngeal nerves may cause voice changes, narrowing of the windpipe may cause stridor, pressure on the gullet may cause dysphagia. Blood or edema in the brain may cause structures to shift.

Surgical removal or debulking may alleviate the symptoms.


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