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Head Neck Surg. 1981 Jan-Feb;3(3):216-30.

Management of thyroid nodules. I: History and physical examination, blood tests, X-ray tests, and ultrasonography.


The approach to the management of the thyroid nodule remains controversial. Confusion exists because virtually any thyroidal disease can present as a clinically solitary nodule which means there is no uniformity regarding natural history, incidence, prevalence, epidemiology, and pathophysiology.. The variety of definitions of thyroid nodules and thyroid carcinoma and the different modes of study selection and individual bias add to the confusion. Diagnostic approaches have not yielded a completely reliable technique to differentiate benign from malignant thyroidal disease. A history of neck irradiation of cervical lymphadenopathy significantly increases the chance of thyroid malignancy, but other parameters of the history or physical examination as well as blood tests are unreliable. Ultrasound displays anatomic but not histologic features. X-ray techniques (plain films, computed tomographic scans, xeroradiography, chest x-ray, barium swallow, lymphography, and angiography) have been used to visualize thyroid nodules, with some techniques proving more useful than others.

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