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Ultrasound Elastography in the Diagnosis of Malignant Cervical Lymphadenopathy in Children: Can It Replace Surgical Biopsy?
Introduction We aimed to assess the accuracy of ultrasound elastography in detecting pediatric malignant cervical lymph nodes, and if this modality can obviate the need for surgical biopsies.
Material and Methods A prospective study from September 2017 to September 2020 included 64 children with persistent cervical lymphadenopathy. Patients were evaluated by meticulous history and physical assessment. B-mode ultrasound, color Doppler, and sonoelastography were conducted thereafter. Elastography scans were classified into five patterns, and patterns from 3 to 5 were considered as malignancies. All children underwent open biopsies followed by pathological examination. Results of tissue diagnosis were compared with patterns of elastography to determine its accuracy.
Results Twenty-eight patients (43.8%) had malignant nodes and the remaining 36 (56.2%) were due to benign causes. Elastography patterns of 1 and 2 were documented in 30 patients, and all of them were diagnosed as benign lesions. Patterns of 3 to 5 were demonstrated in 34 patients. Out of them, 28 were confirmed as malignancies, while 6 children were of benign nature (false positive). Ultrasound elastography achieved sensitivity and specificity of 100 and 85.7%, respectively, and an overall accuracy of 90.6% in the differentiation between malignant and benign entities. The overall accuracy of B-mode and color Doppler were 75 and 82.2%, respectively.
Conclusion Elastography is a useful tool that should be added to ultrasound modalities during the diagnosis of pediatric cervical lymphadenopathy. Surgical biopsy in eligible patients is imperative to commence proper therapy or to discharge the child. Despite favorable results of elastography, it cannot replace surgical biopsy or change its indications.
Keywordsultrasound elastography - children - cervical lymphadenopathy - lymphoma - reactive hyperplasia
Study design: A.E. Patients' management: all authors.
Data collection: all authors. Data analysis: A.E. and E.E. Manuscript writing: A.E. Manuscript critical revision: A.E., E.E., and M.R. All authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript.
Received: 15 December 2020
Accepted: 06 April 2021
06 June 2021 (online)
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