Oral cavity and pharynx

Radiol Clin North Am. 1998 Sep;36(5):967-81, vii. doi: 10.1016/s0033-8389(05)70071-3.


Imaging of the oral cavity and pharynx often is required in three settings: assessment of an inflammatory mass in association with odontogenic, tonsillar, or pharyngeal infections; determination of the cause of a submucosal mass; and staging of squamous-cell carcinomas. Spread of infection from the oral cavity and pharynx can lead to abscesses in the masticatory space, the retropharyngeal compartment, and in a parapharyngeal location. Submucosal masses include congenital cysts (thyroglossal and dermoid), benign neoplasms (hemangioma, schwannomas, pleomorphic adenomas juvenile angiofibromas), inflammatory cysts (mucous retention cysts, ranulas), and pseudotumors (osteophytes, carotid arteries). Staging of squamous-cell carcinomas must focus on deep invasion, spread to the brain, nerves, mandible, prevertebral muscle, and pre-epiglottic fat.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abscess / diagnosis
  • Bacterial Infections / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Cysts / congenital
  • Cysts / diagnosis
  • Diagnostic Imaging*
  • Focal Infection / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Mouth / anatomy & histology*
  • Mouth Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Mouth Diseases / microbiology
  • Mouth Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Mouth Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Palatine Tonsil / microbiology
  • Pharyngeal Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Pharyngeal Diseases / microbiology
  • Pharyngeal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Pharyngeal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pharynx / anatomy & histology*
  • Tooth Diseases / microbiology