Atlas of confounding factors in head and neck PET/CT imaging

Peeyush Bhargava, Saiyyeda Rahman, Juliet Wendt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Purpose: Interpretation of positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) studies in the head and neck region is challenging due to the complex anatomy and nonspecific physiologic and inflammatory FDG uptake. We present an atlas of common confounding factors encountered at our institution. Materials and Methods: We present whole-body fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) PET/CT studies of 20 patients with various confounding factors in the head and neck. Most patients (15) had a history of head and neck cancer and some (5) of them presented with other primary tumors. Results: We describe these cases under the following categories: physiologic uptake (6), inflammatory uptake (5), unexpected benign tumors (2), unexpected malignant tumors (4), postradiation changes (2), postsurgical changes (2), and misregistration (1). Conclusions: Knowledge of common variants, pitfalls, and treatment effects is essential in accurate reading of PET/CT in the head and neck region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e20-e29
JournalClinical Nuclear Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • FDG
  • PET/CT
  • artifacts
  • head and neck

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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