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Dentomaxillofac Radiol. 2011 Oct;40(7):415-21. doi: 10.1259/dmfr/18694011.

Quantitative evaluation of vascularity within cervical lymph nodes using Doppler ultrasound in patients with oral cancer: relation to lymph node size.

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Department of Diagnostics & General Care, Fukuoka Dental College, Sawara-ku, Fukuoka, Japan.



The aim of this study was to quantitatively evaluate the relationship between vascularity within lymph nodes and lymph node size on Doppler ultrasound images of patients with oral cancer.


A total of 310 lymph nodes (86 metastatic, 224 benign) from 63 patients with oral cancer were classified into 4 groups according to their short axis diameters: Group 1, short axis diameters of 4-5 mm; Group 2, 6-7 mm; Group 3, 8-9 mm; and Group 4, ≥ 10 mm. Vascular and scattering indices of lymph nodes on Doppler ultrasound images were analysed quantitatively. The vascular index was defined as the ratio of blood flow area to the whole lymph node area and the scattering index was defined as the number of isolated blood flow signal units.


For metastatic lymph nodes, the vascular index was highest in Group 1 and decreased as lymph node size increased. The vascular index of benign lymph nodes did not differ significantly among the four groups. The vascular index of metastatic lymph nodes was significantly higher than that of benign lymph nodes in Group 1. For metastatic lymph nodes, the scattering index increased as lymph node size increased and was significantly higher than that of benign lymph nodes in Groups 2-4.


An increase in vascularity is a characteristic of Doppler ultrasound findings in small metastatic lymph nodes. As the metastatic lymph node size increases, blood flow signals become scattered, and the scattering index increases.

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