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    To determine the extent of physiological variation of uptake of F-flurodeoxyglucose (FDG) within palatine tonsils. To define normal limits for side-to-side variation and characterize factors affecting tonsillar uptake of FDG.Over a period of 16 weeks 299 adult patients at low risk for head and neck pathology, attending our center for FDG positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) scans were identified. The maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax) was recorded for each palatine tonsil. For each patient age, gender, smoking status, scan indication and prior tonsillectomy status as well as weather conditions were noted.There was a wide variation in palatine tonsil FDG uptake with SUVmax values between 1.3 and 11.4 recorded. There was a strong left to right correlation for tonsillar FDG uptake within each patient (P < .01). The right palatine tonsil showed increased FDG uptake (4.63) compared to the left (4.47) (P < .01). In multivariate analysis, gender, scan indication, and prevailing weather had no significant impact of tonsillar FDG uptake. Lower tonsillar uptake was seen in patients with a prior history of tonsillectomy (4.13) than those without this history (4.64) (P < .01). Decreasing tonsillar FDG uptake was seen with advancing age (P < .01). Significantly lower uptake was seen in current smokers (SUVmax 4.2) than nonsmokers (SUV 4.9) (P = .03).Uptake of FDG in palatine tonsils is variable but shows a strong side-to-side correlation. We suggest the left/ right SUVmax ratio as a guide to normality with a first to 99th percentiles of (0.70-1.36) for use in patients not suspected to have tonsillar pathology.


    Emily Birkin, Katherine S Moore, Chao Huang, Marshall Christopher, John I Rees, Vetrisudar Jayaprakasam, Patrick A Fielding. Determinants of physiological uptake of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose in palatine tonsils. Medicine. 2018 Jun;97(24):e11040

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    PMID: 29901601

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