We have the privilege of working and living during a time of unprecedented technological advances in diagnostic medicine. This now means that for any one diagnostic problem we have not only have one method of imaging but many methods available to us. Wise use of the various technologies dictates that the most informative, least harmful, most easily available and least expensive techniques should be employed first.
With the arrival of CT, MRI, ultrasound and nuclear medicine in medical imaging, a new era of diagnostic understanding of the head and neck has flowered.
In the soft tissues of the neck, many of the diagnostic problems that present to the clinician can be managed with maximal efficiency using ultrasound. Surprisingly, despite the pioneering of neck ultrasound by Bruneton and Solbiati, a large number of neck examinations are still being performed using nuclear medicine, CT and MRI. One might have thought that neck ultrasound would thrive in hospitals in which CT and, particularly, MRI are not readily available. Alas, it seems that most clinicians would prefer to let their patients wait several weeks for MRI and then not get a satisfactory answer, rather than obtain an ultrasound scan quickly from a knowledgeable professional and have an accurate answer sooner.
There are several texts on imaging of the head and neck, but these are predominantly CT and MRI orientated.