Ultrasound imaging in laryngeal cancer: a preliminary study

Clin Radiol. 1994 Oct;49(10):676-82. doi: 10.1016/s0009-9260(05)82658-3.


High resolution ultrasound is a promising technique in the assessment of laryngeal carcinoma, yet few published studies have appeared concerning its use. We set out to assess if ultrasound could correctly identify the site and size of known lesions, if unsuspected extralaryngeal spread or nodal involvement could be shown and if the results could be used to influence patient management. Fourteen patients with advanced laryngeal cancer (Stage T2 or above) were prospectively evaluated by systematic ultrasound technique, with the sonologist blind to the clinical findings. The results were correlated with clinical assessment and with histopathological findings in six patients who subsequently underwent surgery. Eleven of 14 tumours were visible on ultrasound and the site and size correctly identified in each. Unsuspected extralaryngeal spread was found in four cases increasing the tumour stage to T4; spread to the pre-epiglottic space was also shown in four cases. Nodal staging was correctly raised in two cases and incorrectly in one. Patient management was significantly influenced in 8/14 cases. Ultrasound can identify the majority of laryngeal tumours of Stage T2 and above, and detect extralaryngeal spread. Small tumours may not be visible but in this preliminary study, ultrasound complemented the clinical assessment and was useful in patient management.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / surgery
  • Lymphatic Metastasis / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography