Abstract The value of preoperative ultrasonography to detect lymph node metastases in patients with early cervical carcinoma (stage IB-IIA) was investigated in 111 patients. Comparison was made between ultrasound and the operative histopathologic findings in 109 patients and with fine-needle biopsy in 2 patients. The positive predictive value was 71%, and the negative predictive value was 84%. Sensitivity was 23%, specificity was 98%. Lymph node metastases were found in 19% (21 patients) by operative histopathologic examination; these patients received subsequent radiotherapy. The rest, 92 patients with no lymph node metastases at Meigs' operation, were followed by abdominal and transvaginal ultrasonography as well as clinical examination at 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36, and 48 months postoperatively to detect recurrences. The recurrence rate was 9.8%. Ultrasound alone detected only one recurrence in an asymptomatic patient. We conclude that ultrasonography is not reliable in the preoperative detection of lymph node metastases. Moreover, ultrasound examination presents no advantage over clinical examination in early detection of asymptomatic recurrent cervical cancer after radical hysterectomy.