Computed Tomographic Evaluation of Posttreatment Soft-Tissue Changes by Using a Lymphedema Scoring System in Patients with Oral Cancer

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Background: This study aimed to evaluate posttreatment soft-tissue changes in patients with oral cancer with computed tomography (CT). To accomplish that purpose, a scoring system was established, referring to the criteria of lower leg lymphedema (LE). Methods and Results: One hundred and six necks in 95 patients who underwent oral oncologic surgery with neck dissection (ND) were analyzed retrospectively using routine follow-up CT images. A two-point scoring system to evaluate soft-tissue changes (so-called "LE score") was established as follows: Necks with a "honeycombing" appearance were assigned 1 point. Necks with "taller than wide" fat lobules were assigned 1 point. Necks with neither appearance were assigned 0 points. Comparisons between patients with LE score ≥1 and LE score = 0 at 6 months postoperatively were performed using the Fisher exact test for discrete variables and the Mann–Whitney U test for continuous variables. Univariate predictors associated with posttreatment changes (i.e., LE score ≥1 at 6 months postoperatively) were entered into a multivariate logistic regression analysis. Values of p < 0.05 were considered to indicate statistical significance. The occurrence of the posttreatment soft-tissue changes was 32%. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that postoperative radiation therapy (RT) and bilateral ND were potential risk factors of posttreatment soft-tissue changes on CT images. Conclusions: Sequential evaluation of "honeycombing" and the "taller than wide" appearances on routine follow-up CT revealed the persistence of posttreatment soft-tissue changes in patients who underwent oral cancer treatment, and those potential risk factors were postoperative RT and bilateral ND.


  • Lymphatic Research and Biology

    Lymphatic Research and Biology 16(2), 147-153, 2018-04-01

    Mary Ann Liebert


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