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Incidentally Discovered Thyroid Nodules by Routine Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Cervical Spine: Incidence and Clinical Significance

[ Vol. 16 , Issue. 6 ]

Author(s):

Meltem Özdemir* and Rasime Pelin Kavak   Pages 677 - 681 ( 5 )

Abstract:


Objective: The aim of our study was to present the prevalence of thyroid nodules we incidentally discovered by routine Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the cervical spine, to evaluate their clinical significance, and to discuss the current clinical approach to incidental thyroid nodules.

Methods: We retrospectively evaluated the cervical spinal MRI studies of 512 patients. Thyroid glands were evaluated for morphologic and signal characteristics and examined for the presence of nodule(s). The nodules with a maximum diameter of 5 mm or more were taken into analysis.

Results: Of 512 MRI studies, 254 revealed incidental thyroid nodule(s) (49.6%). The mean maximum nodule diameter was 7.48±2.92 mm. Thirty-eight of 254 incidental thyroid nodules were radiologically reported, 35 reported nodules were evaluated by US, and 22 were further analyzed by fine needle aspiration cytology. The final diagnosis of 11 aspirated nodules was an adenomatous nodule, whereas 3 were papillary thyroid carcinoma. One of the patients with papillary thyroid carcinoma was a 32-year-old man with a nodule with a maximum diameter of 7 mm.

Conclusion: Incidental thyroid nodule is a frequent non-spinal lesion detected by routine cervical spinal MRI. The 3-tiered system which is recommended in the clinical approach to incidental thyroid nodules may miss some clinically significant thyroid nodules. We suggest the criteria of this system to be re-evaluated and modified if necessary. In addition, we would like to emphasize the need for a guideline for radiologists for reporting incidental thyroid nodules on MRI on the basis of a standard clinical approach.

Keywords:

Incidental thyroid nodule, magnetic resonance imaging, cervical spine, thyroid cancer, papillary thyroid carcinoma, computed tomography.

Affiliation:

Department of Radiology, University of Health Sciences, Dıskapı Yıldırım Beyazıt Training and Research Hospital, Ankara, Department of Radiology, University of Health Sciences, Dıskapı Yıldırım Beyazıt Training and Research Hospital, Ankara

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