The aim of this study was to compare the effectiveness of technetium-99m methoxyisobutylisonitrile (99mTc-MIBI) single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and computed tomography (CT) in evaluating cervical lymph node metastasis of head and neck cancer. Histopathologic results of 166 cervical lymph node levels in 31 neck-dissected patients were compared with pre-operative CT and 99mTc-MIBI SPECT findings about cervical lymph node metastasis, retrospectively. Sensitivity, specificity and predictability of CT and 99mTc-MIBI SPECT were 68.2, 93.1 and 89.8 per cent and 59.1, 87.5 and 83.7 per cent, respectively. When analysing CT and99mTc-MIBI SPECT together, sensitivity and specificity were 86.4 and 99.3 per cent, respectively. The combined use of 99mTc-MIBI SPECT and CT could increase the accuracy of cervical lymph node metastases detection, compared with separate use of either 99mTc-MIBI SPECT or CT.