Evaluation of the Normal Tonsils in Pediatric Patients With Ultrasonography

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Abstract

Objectives

To evaluate how well the tonsils can be viewed, in addition to echogenicity, using ultrasound, and to compare these results between children younger and older than the age of 3.

Methods

We evaluated the tonsils of 99 patients (72.0 ± 59.1 months) by ultrasound. Ultrasound scans of both the left and right side, in both the transverse and longitudinal planes, were obtained. Images were scored with one of four grades according to how well the tonsil border could be distinguished, 0 being the worst and 3 being the best. Grades 2 or 3 (>50% of the tonsil border was detectable) in both tonsils, in either the transverse or longitudinal image, were considered “evaluable.” Echogenicity was designated as imperceptible, low echoic, or striated in appearance. Statistical analysis was performed using the Mann-Whitney U test.

Results

Bilateral tonsils were evaluable in 96.0% (96/99) of cases. The mean grades were 2.44 ± 0.65/2.03 ± 0.68 in the right transverse/longitudinal images, and 2.40 ± 0.59/2.12 ± 0.73 in the left transverse/longitudinal images. The grades in children older than the age of 3 were significantly higher than those in younger patients (all P < .05). Echogenicity classification on the right and left side revealed a striated appearance in 97.0% (96/99) and 90.0% (89/99) of cases, respectively.

Conclusions

The tonsils of almost all pediatric patients could be evaluated by ultrasound, particularly for patients older than 3 years. Additionally, a striated pattern of the tonsils was observed in most cases.

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