The use of sonography in differentiating cervical lymphomatous lymph nodes from cervical metastatic lymph nodes

Clin Radiol. 1996 Mar;51(3):186-90. doi: 10.1016/s0009-9260(96)80321-7.


Lymphoma and metastases are common causes of cervical lymphadenopathy. Clinical examination alone is unable to differentiate the two. Ultrasound (US) with its high sensitivity and specificity when combined with a find needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) is therefore the ideal initial investigation. We present the spectrum of findings in 19 patients with non Hodgkins lymphoma (NHL), 15 patients with pharyngeal, laryngeal and oesophageal (PLO) carcinomas, 22 patients with oral cavity tumours and 12 patients with infraclavicular carcinomas. The US features found consistently useful in differentiating NHL from other metastases were the distribution of the nodes, distal enhancement and lack of intranodal necrosis. Other US features of abnormal nodes helped identify abnormality but did not help in differentiation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphatic Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lymphatic Metastasis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck
  • Ultrasonography