Is it useful to routinely biopsy hot nodules in iodine deficient areas?
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Incidence of nodular thyroid disease as well as that of functioning thyroid nodules (FTN) increases dramatically in iodine deficient (ID) areas. Cancer is extremely rare in FTN; thus, some do not routinely biopsy and treat them with radioactive iodine (RAI) straight away or follow-up. The outcome of 296 patients followed or treated at our institution for solitary or multiple FTN were retrospectively evaluated. Hospital records of 224 female, 72 male patients, with a mean ±SD age of 54.9±12.4 yr and followed for 22 (0–156) months were examined. 175 patients had solitary, 121 had multiple hot or warm nodules. 230 (77.7%) of the patients received RAI treatment. 402 fine needle aspiration biopsies (FNABs) were performed on 260 patients and on 343 FTN (381 benign and 21 suspicious diagnoses). Eleven of the patients were operated for suspicious FNAB results and 10 were followed-up. Only one nodule turned out to be malignant. Malignancy is extremely rare in functioning thyroid nodules (0.34%) and some of malignant cases could be predicted by their suspicious clinical features. Routine practice of treating FTN with RAI therapy is reasonable in clinically low-risk patients. FNAB is reserved for cases with suspicious clinical features, resulting in fewer surgeries and reduced cost.
KeywordsHot thyroid nodules fine needle aspiration biopsy malignancy
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