What is the role of thyroid ultrasound in the workup of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC)?

Updated: Jun 18, 2020
  • Author: Ponnandai S Somasundar, MD, MPH, FACS; Chief Editor: Neetu Radhakrishnan, MD  more...
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Thyroid ultrasound is the first imaging study to perform in any patient with possible thyroid malignancy. Ultrasound is noninvasive and inexpensive, and it represents the most sensitive procedure for identifying thyroid lesions and for determining the diameters of a nodule.

Ultrasound is also useful for localizing lesions when a nodule is difficult to palpate or is deeply seated. The images can help determine if a lesion is solid or cystic and can help detect the presence of calcifications.

Ultrasound may be used to help direct a fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB).

Pulsed and power Doppler ultrasound may provide important information about the vascular pattern and the velocimetric parameters. Such information can be useful preoperatively to reach a correct differential diagnosis of malignant or benign thyroid lesion.

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