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Thyroid. 2011 Jul;21(7):799-804. doi: 10.1089/thy.2010.0242. Epub 2011 May 26.

Ultrasound, elastography, and fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography imaging in Riedel's thyroiditis: report of two cases.

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Department of Nuclear Medicine, Pitié Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris, France.



Riedel's thyroiditis (RT) is a rare disease characterized by a chronic inflammatory lesion of the thyroid gland with invasion by a dense fibrosis. Publications of the imaging features of RT are scarce. To our knowledge, ultrasound elastography (USE) findings have not been previously reported. Therefore, we describe two patients with RT who were imaged with ultrasonography (US), USE, and fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography (FDG-PET/CT).


Two women were referred for a large, hard goiter with compressive symptoms (dyspnea and dysphagia); in one patient, the goiter was associated with retroperitoneal fibrosis. In both cases, RT was confirmed by surgical biopsy with pathological examination. Thyroid US imaging was performed with a US scan and a 10-13 MHz linear transducer. The hardness of the tissues was analyzed using transient USE (ShearWave, Aixplorer-SuperSonic Imagine). PET/CT scanning was performed with a Philips Gemini GXL camera (GE Medical Systems). In the first patient, US examination revealed a compressive multinodular goiter with large solid hypoechoic and poorly vascularized areas adjacent to the nodules. The predominant right nodule was hypoechoic with irregular margins. The second patient had a hypoechoic goiter with large bilateral hypoechoic areas. In both cases, an unusual feature was observed: the presence of tissue surrounding the primitive carotid artery, associated with thrombi of the internal jugular vein. Further, USE showed heterogeneity in the stiffness values of the thyroid parenchyma varying between 21 kPa and 281 kPa. FDG-PET/CT imaging showed uptake foci in the thyroid gland. In both cases, US showed a decrease in the thyroid gland volume and the disappearance of encasement of the neck vasculature in response to corticosteroid treatment. In contrast, the FDG-PET/CT features remained unchanged.


US features, such as vascular encasement and improvement under corticosteroid treatment, seem to be specific to this rare disease. For the first time, USE documents the hardness of RT tissues. Apart from the FDG-PET/CT findings that merit further investigation, US and USE prove useful tools in the assessment of such a rare disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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