The aim of this study was to define and quantitate the normal anatomy of the extracranial head and neck with 2-[fluorine-18]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET). This information was used to study 12 patients with primary squamous cell carcinomas. In all cases, the lymphoid tissue of the Waldeyer ring and the palatine and lingual tonsils could be differentiated from the airway, striated muscle, osseous structures, and salivary glands. Striated muscle had markedly less activity than lymphoid or salivary gland tissue. In the 12 patients with primary tumors, FDG PET depicted the tumor as an area of increased activity significantly higher than that of normal tissue. In one instance, FDG PET allowed detection of a tumor not seen at magnetic resonance (MR) imaging or computed tomography. Of the 34 lymph nodes positive for carcinoma, 24 were positive according to MR size criteria and 25 were detected with FDG PET. FDG PET allowed detection of three nonenlarged metastatic nodes that were negative at MR imaging.

Article History

Published in print: 1993