Normal Cervical Lymph Node Appearance and Anatomic Landmarks in Neck Ultrasound

  • Lisa A. OrloffEmail author
  • Maisie L. ShindoEmail author


The lymph nodes associated with the glands and structures in the neck are classified into compartments or levels according to anatomic landmarks and boundaries. Ultrasonography of the neck is a first-line imaging modality for evaluation of the cervical lymph nodes in addition to examination of the thyroid and parathyroid glands themselves. Recognition and communication of suspicious or malignant findings involving the cervical lymph nodes requires familiarity with these landmarks and with the sonographic characteristics of benign lymph nodes in the neck.


Lymph node Neck Cervical Level VI Level 6 Central compartment Hilum Jugular Pretracheal Paratracheal Prelaryngeal Delphian Mediastinal 

Supplementary material

Video 20.1

Transverse sweep through level II, displaying carotid bifurcation and benign lymph nodes (MP4 16,491 kb)

Video 20.2

Power Doppler showing hilar pattern of blood flow in benign lymph node (right level III, transverse view) (MP4 4622 kb)

Video 20.3

Midline transverse scan descending through level VI and even into superior level VII (innominate vein) (MP4 7790 kb)

Video 20.4

Right level III lymph node, normal appearing except for tiny microcalcification (with metastatic papillary thyroid carcinoma) (MP4 12,092 kb)

Video 20.5

Right level II benign lymph node with power Doppler showing hilar pattern of vascularity, transverse view (MP4 5079 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stanford University School of Medicine and Stanford Cancer CenterStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of OtolaryngologyOregon Health & Science UniversityPortlandUSA

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