Pitfalls in imaging the submandibular glands with PET/CT | Ear, Nose & Throat Journal Skip to content Skip to navigation

Pitfalls in imaging the submandibular glands with PET/CT

| Reprints
October 31, 2015
by Enrique Palacios, MD, FACR; Michael Ellis, MD, FACS; Edward C. Lam, MD; Harold Neitzschman, MD, FACR, FACNM; Morgan Haile, MD


Imaging of the submandibular glands can provide vital information about malignant neoplastic processes. One of these modalities, fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose-positron-emission tomography/computed tomography (FDG-PET/CT), has become very important in the detection of malignancies because it provides functional and metabolic information as well as anatomic localization. However, there are several pitfalls associated with FDG-PET/CT in terms of salivary gland imaging. For example, a normal increase in the uptake of radiotracer might be mistaken for a neoplastic process. Other routine findings may include normal physiologic uptake in some structures, benign tumors and medical conditions, and iatrogenic abnormalities. We review a case in which compensatory hypertrophy of a submandibular gland was suspected to be a possible malignancy.

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