The Neck: The Salivary Glands


The Neck: The Salivary Glands

Table 4.50 Unilateral masses




Pleiomorphic adenoma

US: solid, well-defined, homogeneous, hypoechoic mass ± echogenic foci, with calcification.

CT: If small, well-marginated homogeneously enhancing ovoid mass. If large, enhances inhomogeneously with foci necrosis/hemorrhage ± calcification.

MRI: depending on size, homogeneous or heterogenous low signal on T1 and high signal on T2 with mild to moderate enhancement.

NM: cold lesion.

Third most common benign salivary gland tumor in children.

Sixty to ninety percent occur in parotid gland. Hard painless mass.


Fig. 4.166

US: focal/diffuse, heterogenous, hypoechoic soft-tissue mass with prominent vascular flow.

CT/MRI with contrast: diffuse CE of well-defined mass.

Most common benign tumor of salivary gland in children.


Identify shortly after birth with rapid growth then slow spontaneous involution.


US: cystic mass with thin septa ± solid elements; ± fluid-fluid levels; ± vascularization in septa or solid portions.

CT: Low-density, poorly circumscribed cystic mass that may be unior multilocular, ± fluid-fluid levels. No enhancement.

MRI: T1 hypoisointense, T2 hyperintense, no CE (unless mixed vascular component).

Second most common salivary gland tumor in children.

Involve adjacent structures commonly (i.e., trans-spatial).

Sixty-five percent present at birth.

Warthin tumor (papillary cystadenoma lymphomatosum)

US: well-defined, hypoechoic, cystic mass or masses.

CT: Solitary well-circumscribed ovoid mass with poor enhancement. Thirty percent have cystic component. No calcification.

MRI: solid/cystic lesions with minimal enhancement.

NM: hot lesion.

Occurs only in parotid gland: superficial lobe.

Twenty percent are multiple lesions.

Ten percent are bilateral.

Most common multifocal salivary tumor.

Mucoepidermoid carcinoma

Fig. 4.167

US: unifocal, heterogenous, ill-defined margins.

CT: enhancing inhomogenous mass.

MRI: heterogenous signal and heterogenous enhancement.

Sixty percent of malignant salivary tumors are mucoepidermoid or acinic cell carcinoma.

Majority arise in parotids.

Associated with rapid growth, facial nerve paralysis, and lymphadenopathy

Low-grade: well-defined.

High-grade: ill-defined shaggy margins, invasive.


Extension into glands from other sites.

(see Tables 4.39 and 4.49 )


Fig. 4.168

Fig. 4.169

US: calculi are echogenic foci with posterior shadowing. ± ductal dilatation, ± inflammation.

Sialogram: punctuate dilatation of the salivary ducts.

T2 MRI: foci of high signal intensity throughout the gland.

Ninety percent involve submandibular gland. Majority of calculi are radiopaque and may be ductal/intraglandular.

Abscess (Staphylococcus aureus)

Fig. 4.170

US: well-defined hypoechoic mass with surrounding edema/induration.

CECT: rim-enhancing, thick-walled cystic mass.

MRI: rim enhancement of abscess, high signal on T2.

Local tenderness and fever.


Fig. 4.159, p. 392

US: cystic mass in floor or mouth, ± echoes and septa.

CT: thin-walled unilocular hypodense lesion with thin enhancing wall.

MRI: low signal on T1 and high signal on T2 with wall enhancement.

Specific type of mucocele that originates in the sublingual gland—may be simple (i.e., within gland and lined by epithelium or diving ranula when simple cyst becomes large and ruptures into submandibular space creating a pseudocyst).

Fig. 4.166 Bilateral large hyperintense parotid masses with flow voids are consistent with bilateral parotid hemangiomas on this T2 coronal fat-saturated MRI of the face and neck.
Fig. 4.167 T1 coronal fat-saturated MRI of the parotid glands shows a well-defined, hyperintense left parotid mass; it was proven by histology to be mucoepidermoid carcinoma.
Fig. 4.168 Sialogram of submandibular gland shows multiple dilated salivary ducts, which is consistent with sialectasis.
Fig. 4.169 Sialectasis with radiopaque calculi in submandibular gland on an oblique radiograph of the mandible.
Fig. 4.170 Submandibular abscess with left hypointense rim enhancing on T1 axial fat-saturated postcontrast MRI. Note the surrounding soft-tissue swelling and enhancement.

Table 4.51 Bilateral masses




Infection: mumps, parotitis, MOTTS, tuberculosis, cat scratch (Bartonella)

US: enlarged, hypoechoic, heterogenous glands, ± hypoechoic collections, indicating abscess formation.

CT: hyperdense glands with mild enhancement

MRI: T2—diffuse high signal ± areas focal high signal. T1 with contrast—moderate enhancement, enlarged gland.

Viral parotitis is a clinical diagnosis.

Suppurative parotitis often bilateral in neonates.

Human immunodeficiency virus lymphoproliferative disorder

Fig. 4.171

US: multiple hypo-/anechoic cysts with thin septa in gland.

CT: Thin rim-enhancement of cystic lesions; heterogenous enhancement of solid lesions.

MRI: T1—low signal intensity cysts with thin rim enhancement. T2—multiple high signal intensity round lesions.

Multiple solid and cystic lesions within enlarged glands.

Often associated cervical adenopathy and tonsillar hyperplasia.

Sjögren’s disease

US: enlarged heterogenous glands with multiple hypoechoic areas, ± small echogenic foci that represent mucous plugs in dilated ducts/walls of ducts.

CT: enlarged hyperdense and heterogenous glands, ± calcification with heterogenous enhancement, solid and mixed solid-cystic components.

T2 MRI: High signal intensity cystic foci. Size depends on stage. Heterogenous CE.

Chronic inflammation and destruction of gland. Increased risk of developing lymphoma in gland. Juvenile type < 20-y-old men, may resolve spontaneously at puberty.

Fig. 4.171 Human immunodeficiency virus lymphoproliferative disorder with multiple hypoechoic/anechoic cysts of varying sizes on longitudinal US of right parotid gland.

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Jul 12, 2020 | Posted by in PEDIATRIC IMAGING | Comments Off on The Neck: The Salivary Glands
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