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Virchows Arch. 2008 Nov;453(5):433-40. doi: 10.1007/s00428-008-0674-x. Epub 2008 Oct 1.

Current practices in performing frozen sections for thyroid and parathyroid pathology.

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Department of Pathology, Tokai University School of Medicine, Isehara City, Kanagawa, 259-1193, Japan.


In this review article, current trends in thyroid and parathyroid frozen sections are discussed. In Japan and other countries, the numbers of thyroid frozen sections have been dramatically decreasing over the past decade. The decline in the number of thyroid frozen sections has been attributed to two major factors: highly diagnostic preoperative fine needle aspiration for papillary carcinomas, the most frequent type of thyroid cancers, and the acknowledgment in the literature of the disadvantageous frozen sections for follicular tumors. Several authors have argued that the frozen section of thyroid nodules should be limited only to cases that have a preoperative cytology diagnosis as "atypical" or "suspicious". In contrast, frozen sections for parathyroid glands have been increasing in numbers. This increase is thought to be largely due to the high number of parathyroidectomies for secondary hyperplasia in dialysis patients. Frozen sections are usually performed to confirm the removal of parathyroid tissue for either cyropreservation or auto-transplantation. It is concluded that thyroid and parathyroid frozen section examination is restricted to selected situations.

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