Introduction: The prevalence of palpable nodules varies between 37% and nodules diagnosed by ultrasonography between 2076%. According to the American Thyroid Associations guidelines it isnt recommended to perform routine thyroid ultrasound for thyroid nodules diagnosis, unless they are palpable or there are any risk factors.
Objective: Evaluation of sonographic and cytological differences between palpable and non-palpable thyroid nodules.
Methods: Evaluation of patients referred to perform of Fine Needle aspiration Cytology (FNAC) in an Endocrinology department. Clinical evaluation was performed by the same doctor without access to clinical or ultrasound information, characterizing if they had palpable nodules and where they were located. Ultrasound and FNAC were made after clinician evaluation.
Results: We analyzed 186 nodules of 139 patients (85.6% female) with a mean age of 57.3±14,8y. 80 nodules were palpable (43%). 19 patients (19 nodules) did not perform cytology for failing criteria.
The palpable nodules compared to non-palpable were larger (±23.36 vs. 16.94±7.46 cm 8.21 cm; P=0.032) and located superiorly (P=0.03). There was no statistically significant difference between age, gender, location second anteroposterior axis and sonographic characteristics of the nodule. Cytological evaluation of this series we obtained 6.5% of non-diagnostic (11/167), 81.4% benign, 8.9% FLUS, 1.2% follicular tumor, 1.2% suspected malignancy and 0.6% malignant. There was no statistical difference comparing palpable nodules with non-palpable nodules.
Conclusions: The palpable nodules were only 43% of nodules observed by ultrasound, were larger and were located more superiorly. There was no statistically significant difference between cytological results. The assessment of palpable and non-palpable nodules should be similar.