Reduced blood flow has been hypothesized to be a major factor in the formation of postradiation fibrosis. This study examined Doppler ultrasonography as a technique to detect changes in blood flow into the tongue during selected lingual gestures, /t/ and /k/.
Six normal subjects, three young men (mean age, 26 years) and three older men (mean age, 66 years) were examined in an upright position using Doppler ultrasound imaging of the external carotid artery just below the lingual artery. Measurements were made with a standardized segmentation technique before and after three repetitions of four speech production gestures /t/ and /k/, each with natural and maximal force.
Blood flow peak systole increased significantly after the speech gestures (p < .001). Pooled before and after gesture values for older subjects were significantly lower than those for younger subjects (p ≤ .05).
Ultrasonography is a clinically useful technique for measuring blood flow during a dynamic gesture and may be useful for measuring effects of tumor treatment and in a lingual exercise program. © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Head Neck 23: 404–408, 2001.