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Ultrasound Med Biol. 2012 Jul;38(7):1154-62. doi: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2012.02.025. Epub 2012 Apr 27.

High diagnostic accuracy and interobserver reliability of real-time elastography in the evaluation of thyroid nodules.

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Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolic Disease Unit, A.O. Ordine Mauriziano di Torino, Torino, Italy.


Elastography is a new diagnostic tool in the evaluation of thyroid nodules. Aim of the study was to evaluate the accuracy and reliability of elastography in discriminating thyroid lesions and the interobserver variability. One hundred thirty-two nodules in 115 patients selected for thyroid surgery underwent conventional ultrasound and elastographic evaluation. Elastography score was divided in four categories (totally elastic nodule, mainly elastic, mainly rigid and totally rigid) according to signal distribution. Three independent operators conducted the study. Final histology showed 92 benign nodules and 40 malignant. On elastography, 77/92 benign nodules were classified as score 1 or 2 and 34/40 malignant nodules as score 3 or 4 (sensitivity 85%, specificity 83.7%, positive predictive value [PPV] 69.3%, negative predictive value [NPV] 92.7%). Rate of concordance between operators was good (K test: 0.64, p < 0.0001). Simple to use, with good interobserver agreement, elastography has all the requisites to become an important complement of conventional US examination in the near future.

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