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J Ultrasound. 2011 Sep;14(3):136-41. doi: 10.1016/j.jus.2011.06.008. Epub 2011 Jul 18.

Ultrasoundelastography: Can it provide valid information for differentiation of benign and malignant thyroid nodules?

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  • 1Endocrinology Unit, Atri Hospital, Atri (TE), Italy.


in English, Italian

Ultrasoundelastography (USE) is a new imaging technique that is performed with a normal ultrasound transducer. It provides improved characterization of a tissue or nodule based on the latter's elasticity and stiffness. The aim of the present, prospective study was to assess the validity of USE in characterizing thyroid nodules. USE patterns were analyzed in light of nodule cytology (British Thyroid Association classification) to determine whether these patterns can be used to decide whether or not fine-needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) is indicated. We examined a consecutive series of 617 thyroid nodules in patients referred for the first time to the Endocrinology Unit of Atri Hospital (Atri, [TE]). Patients underwent ultrasonographic and USE examinations of their thyroid nodules, which were then subjected to FNAC. All nodules with Thy 1 cytology were excluded, leaving 567 nodules for analysis. USE findings were classified on the basis of the degree and distribution of elasticity within the lesion: four patterns were identified (1, 2, 3a, 3b, or 4).None of the nodules with Thy 4 cytology (malignant) had USE pattern 1 or 2; patterns 3 and 4 were associated with higher cytologic grades. In conclusion, USE provides additional information on thyroid nodules, which can be used with ultrasound features of the nodules, to decide whether FNAC is indicated. In fact, patterns 1 and 2 do not seem to be associated with Thy 4 cytology.


FNAC; Sonoelastography; Thyroid; Thyroid nodules; Thyroid sonography

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