Sialolithiasis and salivary ductal stenosis: diagnostic accuracy of MR sialography with a three-dimensional extended-phase conjugate-symmetry rapid spin-echo sequence

Radiology. 2000 Nov;217(2):347-58. doi: 10.1148/radiology.217.2.r00oc02347.


Purpose: To evaluate the accuracy of magnetic resonance (MR) sialography in detecting salivary glandular calculi and ductal stenoses.

Materials and methods: In a prospective study, 64 salivary glands in 61 consecutive patients with acute or recurrent parotid or submandibular glandular swelling were examined by using three-dimensional (3D) extended-phase conjugate-symmetry rapid spin-echo (EXPRESS) MR imaging. Transverse and sagittal-oblique source images and maximum intensity projection images were obtained. All MR images were analyzed independently by two radiologists, without knowledge of the final diagnosis. The reference standard was conventional sialography, ultrasonography (US), and sialendoscopy with or without surgery in 31 glands and was conventional sialography and US in 33 glands.

Results: Final diagnoses included sialolithiasis (n = 23), sialolithiasis and stenosis (n = 9), stenosis without lithiasis (n = 11), early Sjögren syndrome without ductal stenosis (n = 2), ductal displacement (n = 3), and normal salivary glands (n = 16). The sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values of MR sialography to detect calculi were 91%, 94%-97%, 93%-97%, and 91%, respectively. False-negative readings occurred due to calculi with a diameter of 2-3 mm in nondilated salivary ducts. Ductal stenosis was assessed, with a sensitivity of 100%, specificity of 93%-98%, positive predictive value of 87%-95%, and negative predictive value of 100%. Interobserver agreement was very good (kappa = 0.85-0.97).

Conclusion: MR sialography with 3D EXPRESS imaging enables reliable prediction of salivary gland calculi and stenoses.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Constriction, Pathologic / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Salivary Ducts / diagnostic imaging
  • Salivary Ducts / pathology*
  • Salivary Gland Calculi / diagnosis*
  • Salivary Gland Calculi / diagnostic imaging
  • Salivary Glands / diagnostic imaging
  • Salivary Glands / pathology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sialography
  • Ultrasonography