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Curr Opin Oncol. 2010 Jan;22(1):11-6. doi: 10.1097/CCO.0b013e3283337f16.

Developments in the use of ultrasound for thyroid cancer.

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Division of Endocrine Surgery, DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery, University of Miami, Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Florida 33136, USA.



This article reviews the recent developments in neck ultrasound for thyroid cancer published in the last 18 months, with emphasis on the emerging role of surgeon-performed ultrasound in clinical endocrine practice.


Ultrasound has evolved beyond the simple differentiation of solid and cystic thyroid nodules and their measurement. Although no single ultrasound feature has the highest accuracy in distinguishing between benign and malignant thyroid lesions, the combination of several ultrasound characteristics (e.g. hypoechogenicity, irregular borders and microcalcifications) within such thyroid nodules may have a stronger correlation for thyroid cancer. Based on these ultrasound features and risk for thyroid malignancy, the need for ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration, preoperative staging, lymph node mapping and extent of surgery can subsequently be determined and performed. Furthermore, ultrasound has an additional value intraoperatively and in the postoperative surveillance of patients treated for thyroid cancer. Surgeon-performed ultrasound has recently become indispensible in clinical practice where endocrine surgeons have integrated this versatile imaging modality in the evaluation and treatment of patients with thyroid cancer.


Ultrasound is an essential modality in the evaluation of thyroid malignancy. Surgeon-performed ultrasound has proved invaluable in the preoperative, intraoperative and postoperative setting. Future developments in ultrasound may lead to further improvement in the diagnostic accuracy of this modality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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