Anterior facial vein and submandibular gland together: Predicting the histology of submandibular masses with CT or MR imaging

Jane L. Weissman, Ricardo L. Carrau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: To tests the hypothesis that the relationship of the anterior facial vein to the submandibular salivary gland and a mass in the submandibular fossa could help identify the origin of the mass at computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Thirteen patients with 14 palpable submandibular masses, surgical and histologic confirmation, and contrast material-enhanced CT images (12 patients) or MR images (one patient) that showed the anterior facial vein were identified with review of files from 1985 to 1997. Six patients had submandibular gland disease: three with primary neoplasms, two with metastatic tumor invading the gland, and one with chronic sialoadenitis. Eight patients had masses arising outside the gland (seven with lymphadenopathy, one with a plexiform neurofibroma). RESULTS: The anterior facial vein did not separate primary tumors, tumors invading the gland, or lobulations of the enlarged gland from the body of the gland. The vein was identified between enlarged lymph nodes and the gland. The vein did not separate the gland from the neurofibroma, but this tumor was medial to the gland; the vein runs lateral to the gland. CONCLUSION: The anterior facial vein is a useful landmark in determining the origin of a submandibular mass. Primary disease of the gland is never separated from the gland by the vein. The vein does separately lymphadenopathy from the gland and, theoretically, separates the gland from soft-tissue tumors lateral to the gland.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-446
Number of pages6
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Head and neck neoplasms, CT
  • Head and neck neoplasms, MR
  • Head and neck neoplasms, diagnosis
  • Salivary glands, disease
  • Salivary glands, neoplasms
  • Veins, facial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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