Objective: To evaluate the clinical usefulness of intraoral ultrasonography compared with computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging to assess tumour thickness in patients with carcinoma of the tongue. Patients and Methods: Twenty eight patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the tongue who were treated by tumour resection with or without neck dissection and/or preoperative adjunctive therapy, were reviewed. Tumour thickness was assessed preoperatively by ultrasonography, computed tomography, or magnetic resonance imaging and the findings were compared with postoperative measurements and histological grading obtained from histological sections of tongue resection specimens. Results: The ultrasound findings were of moderately well-defined sonolucent lesions. The intraoral ultrasound depth correlated with tumour stage, tumour size, nodal status, mode of invasion (Y-K classification), muscular invasion, and invasive front grading. Ultrasound depth did not correlate with growth type, differentiation, or Anneroth's malignancy. The mean intraoral ultrasound depth was 10.5 mm (SD, 8.1 mm) and the mean tumour depth assessed by histological sections was 7.1 mm (SD, 6.3 mm). There was a significant correlation between the ultrasound depth and the tumour depth by histological section (r = 0.976; p < 0.0001). Measurements by computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging also correlated with tumour depth by histological section (r = 0.823; p = 0.0018, and r = 0.775; p < 0.0001, respectively). Conclusion: These findings suggest that ultrasonography is a reliable method for the preoperative assessment of tumour thickness in tongue carcinoma.
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