Cervical tuberculous adenitis: CT manifestations

Radiology. 1985 Mar;154(3):701-4. doi: 10.1148/radiology.154.3.3969473.


Cervical tuberculous adenitis is being seen with increasing frequency in the United States; in the appropriate clinical setting it should be included in the differential diagnosis of an asymptomatic neck mass. Patients are typically young adults who are recent arrivals from Southeast Asia. A history of tuberculosis is not always elicited nor is the chest radiograph always abnormal. All of these patients have positive purified protein derivative tests unless they are anergic. The CT findings may lead to the diagnosis. Several CT patterns of nodal disease can be seen in tuberculous adenitis; some may mimic benign and neoplastic disease. The presence of a multiloculated or multichambered (conglomerate nodal) mass with central lucency and thick rims of enhancement and minimally effaced fascial planes is highly suggestive of tuberculous adenitis, especially if the patient has a strongly positive tuberculosis skin test.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asia, Southeastern / ethnology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Tuberculosis, Lymph Node / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tuberculosis, Lymph Node / pathology
  • United States