What should be done in thyroid nodules less than two centimeters, ultrasonographically suspicious and cytologically benign?
Mevlüt Çahalov, Özer Makay, Gökhan İçöz, Mahir Akyıldız, Mustafa Yılmaz
Department of General Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Ege University, İzmir, Turkey
Objective: Although fine needle aspiration biopsy has a high sensitivity in thyroid nodule assessment, ultrasono- graphy findings should not be underestimated. With this study we aimed to evaluate cytologically benign nodules smaller than two centimeters, where ultrasonography findings were suspicious.
Material and Methods: Thirty-one patients undergoing thyroidectomy between January 2009 January 2013 were included in this retrospectively designed study. Thyroid ultrasonography and thyroid fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) results were evaluated. Ultrasonographically, all patients had multinodular tissue formation and nodules had at least one of the suspicious features (nodules with hypoechogenicity, irregular margins, absence of halo, taller-than-width, increased vascularity and microcalcifications). Maximum size of nodules was 2 cm. Thyroidectomy was performed in this ultrasonographically suspicious, but cytologically benign group due to clinical suspicion, cosmetic reasons or patient preference.
Results: All patients underwent a total thyroidectomy. The group consisted of 27 female and 4 male patients, with a mean age of 49.5 years. According to the final pathology reports, there were 13 (41.9%) multinodular goiters, 2 (6.4%) follicular adenomas, 1 (3.2%) Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and 15 (48.3%) thyroid cancers. Patients with cancer had at least two suspicious ultrasound findings. Except five patients with papillary microcarcinoma, cancer was diagnosed in ultrasonographically suspicious nodules in all patients. The percentage of patients with benign FNAB results, but with at least two suspicious ultrasound findings of malignancy in the biopsied nodules, was 32.2%.
Conclusion: FNAB remains to be the gold standard in the management of ultrasonographically suspicious nodules smaller than 2 centimeters. Nevertheless, due to its high sensitivity, in case of presence of suspicious features on ultrasonography, we believe that thyroidectomy should be a treatment option if there is a clinical suspicion and the patient carries at least two suspicious ultrasonography findings.
Keywords: Thyroid nodule, ultrasonography, fine needle aspiration biopsy
Due to the retrospective design and anonymized data of patient charts, ethical approval not been qvestioned.
Concept - Ö.M., M.Ç.; Design - M.Ç., Ö.M.; Supervision - G.İ., M.A.; Data Collection and/or Processing - Ö.M., G.İ., M.Ç.; Analysis and/or Interpretation - M.Y., M.A.; Literature Review - M.Ç., Ö.M.; Writer - M.Ç., Ö.M.; Critical Review - G.İ., Ö.M., M.Ç.
No conflict of interest was declared by the authors.