Background: Before excision of the primary tumor in oropharyngeal cancer, a decision must be made to treat the cervical lymph nodes (LN) or not. The study aimed to assess the role of clinical palpation (CP) for preoperative detection of LN metastasis.
Methods: Twenty patients with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC), managed by excision of the primary tumor and neck dissection. The histopathological examination results compared to the preoperative assessment of the nodes by CP.
Results: There were 20 patients involved, 11 males and nine females. The mean age was 54.5 years. Twenty neck dissections performed; there was 14 LN metastasis as proved by histopathological examination. On CP, true positive was 12, false negative was two, true negative was two and false positive was four.
Conclusions: Clinical palpation performed preoperatively is highly advised as it has high diagnostic capabilities to reach a decision to do neck dissection or not.
Trial registration: not applicable