Pediatric Radiology

, Volume 36, Issue 10, pp 1063–1067

The sonographic characteristics of nontuberculous mycobacterial cervicofacial lymphadenitis in children

  • Jerome A. Lindeboom
  • Anne M. J. B. Smets
  • Ed J. Kuijper
  • Rick R. van Rijn
  • Jan M. Prins
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00247-006-0271-6

Cite this article as:
Lindeboom, J.A., Smets, A.M.J.B., Kuijper, E.J. et al. Pediatr Radiol (2006) 36: 1063. doi:10.1007/s00247-006-0271-6



Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are a common cause of chronic cervicofacial lymphadenitis in young children. The differential diagnosis includes other infections, lymphoepithelial cysts and malignancies.


To assess the sonographic findings of NTM cervicofacial lymphadenitis in children.

Materials and methods

We analysed the sonograms of cervicofacial lymph nodes of 145 children with microbiologically proven NTM lymphadenitis.


The size of the involved lymph nodes ranged from 1.9 cm to 4.4 cm. Most of the NTM patients (85%) presented in a stage of lymph node fluctuation with violaceous skin discoloration. On sonography, marked decreased echogenicity was seen in all cases. In 133 of the patients (92%) liquefaction with intranodal cystic necrosis, nodal matting and adjacent soft-tissue oedema were present. 66 children received antibiotic treatment, and the other children underwent surgical excision of the involved lymph nodes. In 69% of the patients successfully treated with antibiotics, multiple intranodal calcifications were present on sonography after 1 year.


Sonographic findings can provide additional diagnostic clues for NTM lymphadenitis in childhood. A marked decrease of echogenicity in the early stages, with intranodal liquefaction in the advanced stages, are universal features, albeit not entirely specific. Multiple intranodal calcifications are rather characteristic of end-stage mycobacterial infection.


Nontuberculous mycobacteriaChronic cervical lymphadenitisUltrasoundChildren

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jerome A. Lindeboom
    • 1
    • 5
  • Anne M. J. B. Smets
    • 4
  • Ed J. Kuijper
    • 6
  • Rick R. van Rijn
    • 4
  • Jan M. Prins
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Academic Medical CenterUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Tropical Medicine and AIDS, Academic Medical CenterUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Center for Infection and Immunity Amsterdam (CINIMA), Academic Medical CenterUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of Radiology, Academic Medical CenterUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Academic Center for Dentistry (ACTA)University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  6. 6.Department of Medical MicrobiologyLeiden University Medical CenterLeidenThe Netherlands