Table of Contents
International Journal of Molecular Imaging
Volume 2011, Article ID 106068, 6 pages
Review Article

SPECT/CT for Lymphatic Mapping of Sentinel Nodes in Early Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Oral Cavity and Oropharynx

1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, University Hospital Zurich, Frauenklinikstrasse 24, 8091 Zurich, Switzerland
2Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Kantonsspital St. Gallen, Rorschacherstraβe 95, 9000 St. Gallen, Switzerland

Received 15 July 2010; Accepted 24 August 2010

Academic Editor: Domenico Rubello

Copyright © 2011 Haerle Stephan K. and Stoeckli Sandro J.. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Adequate staging and treatment of the neck in squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity and oropharynx (OSCC) is of paramount importance. Elective neck dissection (END) of the clinical N0-neck is widely advocated as neck treatment. With regard to the prevalence of 20–40% of occult neck metastases found in the ND specimens, the majority of patients undergo surgery of the lymphatic drainage basin without therapeutic benefit. Sentinel node biopsy (SNB) has been shown to be a safe, reliable and accurate alternative treatment modality for selected patients. Using this technique, lymphatic mapping is crucial. Previous reports suggested a benefit of single photon emission computed tomography with CT (SPECT/CT) over dynamic planar lymphoscintigraphy (LS) alone. SPECT/CT allows the surgeon for better topographical orientation and delineation of sentinel lymph nodes (SLN’s) against surrounding structures. Additionally, SPECT/CT has the potential to detect more SLN’s which might harbour occult disease, than LS. SPECT/CT is recommended to be used routinely, although SPECT/CT is not indispensable for successful SNB.