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Thyroid. 2004 Jan;14(1):29-33.

Prevalence, clinical and ultrasonographic characteristics of thyroid incidentalomas.

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Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


High-resolution ultrasonography (US) has made possible the detection of asymptomatic small thyroid nodules. Thyroid incidentalomas have created a clinical dilemma as to how to properly manage such incidental findings. We investigated the prevalence, the clinical and US characteristics, and optimal diagnostic approach to incidentally detected benign and malignant thyroid nodules < 1.5 cm. Retrospective review was done on 1475 patients who had visited Samsung Medical Center, Soul Korea from January 1999 to December 2000. The prevalence of thyroid incidentalomas was 13.4%. The malignancy rate within thyroid incidentalomas was 28.8%. There were no significant differences in age, nodule size and number, thyroid function test, and Tc99m thyroid scan between benign and malignant incidentalomas. US characteristics of solid echostructure, irregular margin, and calcification showed meaningful diagnostic value in detecting malignancy in thyroid incidentalomas (p < 0.05). Most malignant incidentalomas were low stage. In conclusion, occult thyroid cancers are a fairly common finding. There were no significant differences in clinical and laboratory parameters between benign and malignant thyroid nodules <1.5 cm; however, US findings can be used in the decision of optimal management strategies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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