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October 1990

Computed Tomography of Metastatic Cervical Lymph Nodes: A Clinical, Computed Tomographic, Pathologic Correlative Study

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Otolaryngology (Drs Moreau and Goffart) and Radiology (Dr Collignon), Liège (Belgium) University.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1990;116(10):1190-1193. doi:10.1001/archotol.1990.01870100084018

• A retrospective comparative study of 63 neck dissections was undertaken to evaluate further the accuracy of high-resolution computed tomography (CT) in the detection of nodal metastases, as previous studies have indicated a trend toward the superiority of CT scanning over palpation. The respective values of neck examination, CT scanning, and histopathologic examination were assessed in 51 patients with head and neck cancer who underwent a total of 63 neck dissections. The overall agreement between clinical examination findings and histopathologic findings was 92% vs 81% for CT scanning. A retrospective analysis of the CT findings failed to reveal greater accuracy. We found nodes measuring 10 mm or more with central low density always to be malignant. Because CT scanning seems to offer little advantage over palpation in the nonirradiated neck, it should not be regarded as an essential tool in the staging of nodal disease. After radiation therapy, as neck dissection is only performed because of clinical or radiologic suspicion, CT scanning is of utmost importance.

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1990;116:1190-1193)

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