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November 1985

Computed Tomography of Cervical Lymph Nodes: Staging and Management of Head and Neck Cancer

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery (Drs Stevens, Davis, Johnson, and Parkin), and the Department of Radiology (Drs Harnsberger and Mancuso), University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City.

Arch Otolaryngol. 1985;111(11):735-739. doi:10.1001/archotol.1985.00800130067007

• Forty patients with head and neck cancer had a computed tomographic (CT) scan followed by lymphadenectomy and pathologic confirmation. The overall accuracy of clinical examination of the neck was 70% vs 93% by CT. The CT correctly "upstaged" the neck in nine patients. One was upstaged from NO to N1, and four each from NO to N2 and N1 to N2. It correctly "downstaged" the neck in one patient (from N2 to N1). Eight patients had extranodal disease on CT confirmed by pathology. The CT findings were correct in ten of 11 previously treated patients. Because CT is more accurate than the clinical examination, it should be included in the staging of not only the primary tumor but also nodal disease of the neck. It can have an important role in the management of head and neck cancer.

(Arch Otolaryngol 1985;111:735-739)

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