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Ultrasonography of Abnormal Neck Lymph Nodes

Chan, Joe M. MD*; Shin, Lewis K. MD; Jeffrey, R. Brooke MD

doi: 10.1097/01.ruq.0000263839.84937.45
Original Articles: CME Article

Ultrasonography is a useful imaging modality for assessing cervical lymphadenopathy in patients with head and neck carcinomas. Features of cervical lymph nodes using gray-scale and color and power Doppler ultrasonography can help to distinguish normal and reactive lymph nodes from potentially metastatic lymph nodes. The distinguishing features that separate abnormal from normal cervical lymph nodes include peripheral vascularity, shape, overall lymph node echogenicity, absence of hilus, presence of nodal microcalcifications, and cystic changes. Often, a combination of these features is needed to assign a cervical lymph node as being abnormal.

*Internal Medicine Resident, Department of Internal Medicine, Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, CA; †Clinical Instructor/NCI Body Imaging Fellow, Department of Radiology, Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, CA; and ‡Associate Chair for Academic Affairs, Fellowship Director and Section Chief, Abdominal Imaging, Department of Radiology, Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, CA.

Received for publication November 16, 2006; accepted January 6, 2007.

The authors have disclosed that they have no financial interests in or relationships with any commercial companies pertaining to this educational activity.

Lippincott Continuing Medical Education Institute, Inc. has identified and resolved all faculty conflicts of interest regarding this educational activity.

Reprints: Lewis K. Shin, MD, Department of Radiology, Stanford University, 300 Pasteur Dr, H1307, Stanford, CA 94305-5105 (e-mail:

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.