The role of preoperative neck ultrasounds to assess lymph nodes in patients with suspicious or indeterminate thyroid nodules

Rashmi Roy, Guennadi Kouniavsky, Raghunandan Venkat, Erin A. Felger, Zita Shiue, Eric Schneider, Martha A. Zeiger

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background and Objectives Currently there are no recommendations for obtaining a preoperative neck ultrasound for patients with suspicious or indeterminate thyroid nodules. Because a preoperative surgical ultrasound can detect suspicious lymph nodes that could result in ultimately altering surgical management, we chose to study which variables were predictive of this change. Methods Medical records of 173 patients who presented between January 2006 and December 2010 with suspicious or indeterminate thyroid cytology were retrospectively reviewed. Clinicopathological variables were analyzed to determine factors predictive of malignancy and a change in operative approach. Results One hundred thirty-four of 173 patients were evaluable. Seventeen of 134 (12.6%) of the preoperative ultrasounds were suspicious. Seven of 134 (5.2%) patients underwent a formal lymph node dissection based on ultrasound findings. Size of tumor, Bethesda FNAB category, and male gender were associated with malignancy while thyroid nodule microcalcifications and category of FNAB were associated with performing lymph node dissections. Conclusion Thyroid nodule microcalcifications on ultrasound and category of FNAB appear to be the best predictors of metastatic disease. Because the surgical approach was altered in only a few patients, further analysis is needed to delineate whether performing cervical ultrasound for suspicious/indeterminate nodules is cost effective. J. Surg. Oncol. 2012; 105:601-605.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)601-605
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Surgical Oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • metastases
  • papillary thyroid cancer
  • preoperative neck ultrasound
  • suspicious or indeterminate thyroid nodule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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