Limitations of thyroid scanning in solitary thyroid nodules
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During an 8-year period, 104 patients (19 males, 85 females) underwent surgery for a solitary thyroid nodule. There were 19 (18.3%) malignant nodules and 85 (81.7%) benign nodules. Malignancy occurred in 3 (15.8%) males and 16 (18.8%) females. Pre-operative scanning was performed prior to referral in 59 patients (52 had ultrasound, 41 had isotope scanning; the majority had both). Of the scanned patients, 12 (20%) had a malignant nodule while 7 (15.5%) of the 45 patients who did not have scanning had a malignant nodule. In patients who had an ultrasound scan, malignancy was found in 5 (23.8%) of the 21 solid nodules and 7 (22.7%) of the 31 cystic (or solid/cystic) nodules. In patients who had thyroid isotope scanning, malignancy was found in 6 (17.5%) of the 34 cold (non-functioning) nodules and 3 (43%) of the 7 warm or hot (functioning) nodules. Ultrasound and isotope scanning may be misleading and neither help to differentiate benign from malignant thyroid nodules which require surgical excision.
KeywordsThyroid Cancer Thyroid Carcinoma Thyroid Nodule Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology Follicular Carcinoma
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