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Why Thyroid Surgeons Are Frustrated with Radiologists: Lessons Learned from Pre- and Postoperative US. Radiographics 2016 Nov-Dec;36(7):2141-2153 PMID: 27768542


Optimal treatment of thyroid cancer is highly dependent on accurate staging of the extent of disease at presentation. Preoperative ultrasonography (US) is the most sensitive method for detecting metastatic lymph nodes and is recommended as part of the standard preoperative workup. Missed findings on preoperative scans may lead to understaging and inadequate surgical management, which subsequently predispose these patients to residual disease postoperatively and a higher risk for recurrence, possibly requiring repeat surgery. Traditionally, thyroid US for pre- and postoperative staging has been performed by radiologists. However, there is a growing trend away from radiologist-performed US in favor of surgeon-performed US. Recent surgical and endocrinology literature has shown that, when compared with surgeon-performed US, radiologist-performed preoperative staging US is less accurate and is inadequate for presurgical planning, with higher local recurrence rates. This review highlights the importance of accurate preoperative US for patients with differentiated thyroid cancer, with specific attention to deficiencies that exist in general radiology department thyroid US reports. We present a standardized approach to neck US reporting that incorporates the newly updated 2015 recommendations from the American Thyroid Association and also addresses the pertinent questions for thyroid surgeons. By ensuring comprehensive preoperative assessment and improving thyroid US reporting, we seek to improve patient access to optimized care. RSNA, 2016.

Author List

Kumbhar SS, O'Malley RB, Robinson TJ, Maximin S, Lalwani N, Byrd DR, Wang CL


Sachin Kumbhar MD Assistant Professor in the Radiology department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Clinical Competence
Perioperative Care
Thyroid Neoplasms
Treatment Outcome
United States

View this publication's entry at the Pubmed website PMID: 27768542
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