Purpose: To verify the acclaimed accuracy of ultrasound (US) combined with US-guided fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) in the detection of lymph node metastasis in the neck and to evaluate the interobserver variability.
Materials and methods: In a prospective, multicenter study of 185 patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, US (n=238 neck sides) with US-guided FNAB (n=178 neck sides) was used for evaluation of the lymph node status of the neck. Findings were correlated with those of histopathologic examination in 238 neck sides.
Results: US with US-guided FNAB had a sensitivity of 77% and a specificity of 100%. Nineteen of 178 aspirations were nondiagnostic. There were no significant differences between the four participating hospitals or the individual sonologists (P>.05).
Conclusion: Sensitivity of US with US-guided FNAB was slightly lower compared with previous reports. Specificity was similar to previous reports. Interobserver variability appeared to be low. The validity of US with US-guided FNAB is high and warrants widespread use of the procedure for evaluation of the neck.