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Free Content Oral Cavity Cancer: A Review of Patterns of Spread

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Tumors arising in the oral cavity are typically diagnosed by clinical examination, but imaging plays a critical role in evaluating the extent of disease. CT and MR imaging provide important information about submucosal, perineural, and perimuscular spread as well as mandibular and maxillary involvement. Knowing the common pathways of tumor spread unique to the oral cavity helps the radiologist identify these important but sometimes subtle findings. This article reviews the major patterns of oral cavity cancer spread with the use of CT, MR imaging, clinical photographs, and pathologic specimens. Specific subsites of the oral cavity such as the FOM, oral tongue, hard palate, RMT, and buccal mucosa are each discussed separately.
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Keywords: FOM = floor of mouth; GG = genioglossus muscle; GH = geniohyoid; GPF = greater palatine foramen; HG = hypoglossus muscle; M = metastasis; M. Pteryg. = medial pterygoid muscle; MH = mylohyoid muscle; Orb = orbicularis oris; PMR = pterygomandibular raphe; PPF = pterygopalatine fossa; Paraph = parapharyngeal space; RMT = retromolar trigone; SLS = sublingual space; SMG = submandibular gland; SMS = submandibular space; Sup. Pharyn. Const = superior pharyngeal constrictor muscle; T = tumor; V = ventral tongue; bucc = buccinator; fat = fat pad; hyogl = hyoglossus; mand = mandible, mandibular cortex

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • Neurographics is the peer-reviewed, bimonthly educational journal of the American Society of Neuroradiology. The journal comprises articles selected from material presented at the ASNR Annual Meeting. Neurographics also publishes other high-quality submissions that are primarily educational and have a high emphasis on a pictorial approach. Neurographics offers CME credit for reading review articles and completing quiz-based self-assessment activities.

    Visit to view all available CME courses.

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