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JNMA J Nepal Med Assoc. 2011 Oct-Dec;51(184):164-70.

Diagnostic accuracy of computed tomogram in the evaluation of a neck mass.

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  • 1Department of Radiodiagnosis, Manipal Teaching Hospital, Phulbari, Nepal.



The concept of dividing extracranial head and neck into different spaces is a notion that dates back to the 1800s. Various studies have led to detailed description of the soft tissue spaces that are contained within the fascial layers. This study was carried out to determine the accuracy of computed tomogram (CT) in differentiating malignant from benign lesions in the neck, to study the spatial distribution of different types of histological groups in the neck and the prevalence of malignant versus benign diseases involving the neck.


This was a hospital-based, prospective study conducted in the department of Radiodiagnosis, Kasturba Medical college, Mangalore, from 2005-2008. A hundred consecutive patients referred for CT scan examination presenting with complaints related to involvement of neck spaces or presence of palpable neck masses were enrolled in this study. The details of all the cases regarding their radiological findings and histopathology were reviewed.


Of the 100 patients studied, 53 % had malignant lesions, out of which 43 % were squamous cell carcinoma and 4 % were metastatic lymph nodal involvement. Twenty percent of the lesions were of an infective origin while 23 % were benign and congenital cystic lesions.


CT scan as an imaging modality has the ability to evaluate the malignant and benign tumors of the neck. Considering histopathology as the gold standard, the sensitivity of CT in detecting malignant/benign lesions was 96.5 % with a specificity of 100 %. The positive predictive value was 100 % and the negative predictive value 95.2 %.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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