In squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity, the presence of nodal metastases greatly influences prognosis. The evaluation of regional lymph nodal involvement is crucial in the correct management of these neoplasms. The records of 45 patients with oral cancer were reviewed retrospectively to evaluate the accuracy and prognostic value of the techniques used to detect lymph node metastasis in the neck (clinical examination, echo-colour-Doppler, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging). Echo-colour-Doppler was the most accurate procedure with a predictive positive value of 95.6% and the lowest false-negative rate. Therefore, a diagnostic preoperative study must include echo-colour-Doppler preferably associated with computed tomography to achieve the greatest diagnostic accuracy.
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