JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Lymph node metastases: CT and MRI

M W van den Brekel
European Journal of Radiology 2000, 33 (3): 230-8
10699739
Imaging is playing a major role in the assessment of cervical lymphadenopathy. In head and neck malignancies, imaging can be helpful for staging, and sometimes in differentiating different types of metastases, such as squamous cell carcinomas, non-hodgkins disease and thyroid carcinomas. This article on imaging of cervical lymph node metastases will describe both radiological and clinical aspects. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) are widely used for primary tumor and nodal imaging. However, very seldom these modalities have clinical consequences for the management of the neck, such as a wait-and-see policy if no nodes are depicted. This is caused by the limited accuracy of both modalities caused by the fallibility of radiologic criteria for metastases. Ultrasound (US) is hampered by similar morphologic criteria, and only US-guided fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) can offer additional cytologic criteria which are more reliable.

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