Thyroid nodules are common. Malignancy was reported in only 5-15% of cases. Fine needle aspiration under US guidance (USG-FNA) proved to be accurate for the detection of thyroid cancer. This is a retrospective review of 400 radiology and cytology USG-FNA reports, randomly selected among those done at the Radiology Department at a tertiary care center in Beirut during the last five years. The specimen was inadequate in 60 (12%) of cases but FNA was repeated in 10 cases only. The final diagnosis was benign in 76.7% of cases, mostly in women. 35% of the malignant and 19% of the benign nodules were hypoechoic, p=0.03. No significant correlation was observed between malignancy and other ultrasonic characteristics. Hypoechogenecity was also more common in nodules with inadequate specimen (40% versus 21.4%, p=0.01). Age, gender, location and size of the nodule did not differ between groups of adequate and inadequate specimen. In conclusion, 3 out of 4 thyroid nodules referred for USG-FNA are benign, mostly in women. Inadequate specimen was observed in 12% of cases. Hypoechogenecity but not other ultrasonic characteristics was associated with malignancy and with test failure.
Key words: Thyroid nodule, fine needle aspirate, ultrasound guidance, thyroid cancer, inadequate.
from International Archives of Medicine