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Semin Ultrasound CT MR. 2013 Jun;34(3):196-203. doi: 10.1053/j.sult.2012.11.012.

Sonography: the leading diagnostic tool for diseases of the salivary glands.

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Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Grosshadern Medical Center, Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, Germany.


Ultrasound examination is the imaging procedure with the best predictive diagnostic capability for the salivary glands. Due to the salivary glands' relatively superficial anatomical location, clear boundary from surrounding tissue and comparatively typical echogenicity, therefore sonography is ideal for diagnosis. In addition, the technical advances in recent years, including higher resolution, color Doppler sonography, contrast-enhanced ultrasound, elastography, and tissue harmonic have lead to an improvement in diagnostic accuracy of sonography further resulting in an expansion of the range of indications. Sonography allows detection of obstructive salivary gland diseases such as stenosis or sialolithiasis, as well as sialadenosis such as Sjögren syndrome. Ultrasound examination alone is sufficient to diagnose benign tumors. However, in the case of malignant tumors, computer tomography or MRI may be also required, especially to determine the question of infiltration of the skull base.

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