The postradiation neck: evaluating response to treatment and recognizing complications.


Journal Article

OBJECTIVE: We summarize the rationale for and physiology of radiation therapy for the treatment of head and neck cancer and review the imaging findings of expected changes and complications after radiation to the neck. It is important to be able to recognize these features at all stages during management of patients with squamous cell carcinoma and other head and neck malignancies and to be able to distinguish these changes from residual or recurrent disease. CONCLUSION: Radiation therapy results in imaging findings of tissue edema followed by fibrosis, scarring, and atrophy. Complications from radiation therapy can occur months to years after treatment. Findings of a new mass, lymphadenopathy, or bone or cartilage destruction must be viewed as concerning for recurrent disease.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Glastonbury, CM; Parker, EE; Hoang, JK

Published Date

  • August 2010

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 195 / 2

Start / End Page

  • W164 - W171

PubMed ID

  • 20651177

Pubmed Central ID

  • 20651177

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1546-3141

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0361-803X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.2214/ajr.09.4122


  • eng