Ultrasonography.  2022 Apr;41(2):279-290. 10.14366/usg.21107.

Diagnostic value of supersonic shear impulse elastography for malignant cervical lymph nodes: a Bayesian analysis

  • 1Department of Ultrasound, Sichuan University West China Hospital, Chengdu, China
  • 2Center of Thyroid & Parathyroid Surgery, Sichuan University West China Hospital, Chengdu, China


This study aimed to assess the diagnostic performance of supersonic impulse (SSI) elastography in differentiating malignant and benign cervical lymph nodes.
The Medline, Embase, and Cochrane Central databases were searched until December 1, 2020. Two different reviewers checked the studies and extracted the data. The diagnostic yields were quantitatively synthesized using a Bayesian bivariate model with an integrated nested Laplace approximation in R.
In total, 590 patients with 892 cervical lymph nodes who underwent SSI elastography were included. The total prevalence of malignancy was 33.7% (301/892), and the four elastic modulus values (mean, maximum, minimum, and standard deviation) were significantly different between malignant and benign lymph nodes. For the mean elastic modulus, the summary estimates for sensitivity and specificity were 0.720 (95% credible interval [CrI], 0.592 to 0.824) and 0.877 (95% CrI, 0.727 to 0.969), respectively. The estimated area under the curve (AUC) was 0.845 (95% CrI, 0.672 to 0.914). For the maximum elastic modulus, the sensitivity and specificity were estimated to be 0.809 (95% CrI, 0.698 to 0.899) and 0.816 (95% CrI, 0.643 to 0.924), respectively. The estimated AUC was 0.834 (95% CrI, 0.579 to 0.938). The minimum and standard deviation of the elastic modulus and the outcomes of the positive and negative likelihood ratio, diagnostic odds ratio, and risk difference were also calculated.
SSI elastography is an acceptable imaging technique for diagnosing malignant cervical lymph nodes, and it can play a complementary role today. Both maximum and mean elastic modulus values should be taken into consideration to make a clinical judgment.


Elasticity imaging techniques; Neck; Lymph nodes; Thyroid
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