Journal Belge de Radiologie vol:74 issue:5 pages:369-76
Double contrast is the best radiological technique for the detection of small esophageal cancer. Gastrografin is indicated when a blind mediastinal fistula is suspected; in cases of choking or suspicion of a fistula with the airways, a low osmotic hydrosoluble Iodium compound must be used. Conventional radiology and endoscopy are complementary techniques for the detection of esophageal cancer, as some lesions may be missed or misinterpreted by both. The need for endoscopic biopsy being incontestable for diagnostic confirmation and characterization, radiology presents some advantages over classic esophagoscopy for preoperative and the general pretherapeutic staging of esophageal carcinoma: assessment of topographical relation with the surrounding organs is possible and with the upper esophageal sphincter is easier; appreciation of tumoral extension along the longitudinal axis (tumor length, gastric invasion) remains mostly possible even in cases of severe stenosis; tumoral extension along the transverse axis (kinking, fistula) may be evaluated; detection of a second tumor or concomitant pathology distally from a stenosing tumor is mostly possible; moreover radiology is important before starting radiotherapy; and finally, previous radiology may reduce the (small) risk of endoscopic perforation. Radiology is indispensable or indicated in the posttherapeutic follow-up of esophageal carcinoma, as well after surgery as after endoscopic interventions, radiotherapy or chemotherapy.