Lymph node imaging

Lymph node imaging has become an important task for the radiologist in present days, aiding the clinician in determining whether they are benign or malignant. Multiple modalities are being used for the assessment and characterization of lymph nodes, each with its advantages and drawbacks.

Modalities

Ultrasound
  • size 
  • number
  • shape
  • echotexture
  • vascularity
  • contour
  • hilum
  • calcification
  • long to short axis ratio
CT
  • size 
  • shape
  • number
  • attenuation characteristics
  • enhancement with contrast
MRI
Diffusion-weighted imaging
Contrast MRI 
  • enhancement kinetics 
  • flow kinetics
  • blood volume
  • microvascular permeability
MR spectroscopy
  • another adjunct technique for characterization is spectroscopy 
  • elevated choline levels have been associated with metastatic lymph nodes and even further studies are being evaluated for other metabolites in metastatic nodes.
USPIO imaging on MR
  • it is a promising technique for lymph node evaluation with the usage of ultra-small superparamagnetic iron oxide particles
  • several patterns of uptake have been defined which are helpful in the characterisation of lymph nodes
Interstitial administration of lymphangiographic contrast with MRI
  • a different approach which helps in the visualisation of the lymphatic system on MRI
  • helps in identification of sentinel nodes and the course of draining lymphatics
Nuclear medicine
PET
  • has gained importance in recent years in identifying small nodal metastases
  • 18F-FDG has been used which is avidly taken up by malignant cells with high rate of glycolysis
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Article information

rID: 25896
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • imaging of lymph nodes

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