European Radiology

, Volume 24, Issue 6, pp 1403–1409 | Cite as

Core needle biopsy can minimise the non-diagnostic results and need for diagnostic surgery in patients with calcified thyroid nodules

  • Eun Ju Ha
  • Jung Hwan Baek
  • Jeong Hyun Lee
  • Jin Kyoung Kim
  • Jae Kyun Kim
  • Hyun Kyung Lim
  • Dong Eun Song
  • Tae Yon Sung
  • Tae Yong Kim
  • Won Bae Kim
  • Young Kee Shong
Head and Neck



To evaluate the role of core needle biopsy (CNB) for calcified thyroid nodules.


Between October 2008 and July 2011, 264 patients underwent ultrasound-guided CNB for 272 calcified thyroid nodules at our institution. We retrospectively evaluated the incidence of technical failure, non-diagnostic readings, and the diagnostic performance of CNB, and analysed the relationship between the types of calcification and the CNB results. Finally, the incidence of diagnostic surgery was calculated.


The incidence of technical failure was 1.1 % (3/275) and that of non-diagnostic results was 0.7 % (2/272). The diagnostic accuracy, sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of CNB were 94.7 %, 89.5 %, 100 %, 100 %, and 90.2 %, respectively. There were no significant differences according to the calcification subtype for either the non-diagnostic results or the incidence of technical failure (P > 0.99 and P > 0.99). CNB could prevent diagnostic surgery for 92.9 % (13/14) of the patients who showed more than two non-diagnostic results in previous FNA.


CNB can minimise the non-diagnostic results as well as diagnostic surgery in patients with calcified thyroid nodules. Therefore, CNB may be used as a first-line diagnostic tool for calcified thyroid nodules rather than FNA.

Key points

CNB results show the low incidence of technical failure (1.1 %, 3/275).

CNB results show the low non-diagnostic rate (0.7 %, 2/272).

There were no significant differences according to the calcification subtype.

CNB can prevent unnecessary diagnostic surgery in 92.9 % (13/14).


Core needle biopsy Calcification Non-diagnostic results Fine-needle aspiration 





fine-needle aspiration


core-needle biopsy


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Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eun Ju Ha
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jung Hwan Baek
    • 1
  • Jeong Hyun Lee
    • 1
  • Jin Kyoung Kim
    • 1
  • Jae Kyun Kim
    • 3
  • Hyun Kyung Lim
    • 1
    • 4
  • Dong Eun Song
    • 5
  • Tae Yon Sung
    • 6
  • Tae Yong Kim
    • 7
  • Won Bae Kim
    • 7
  • Young Kee Shong
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Radiology and Research Institute of RadiologyUniversity of Ulsan College of Medicine, Asan Medical CenterSongpa-GuKorea
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyAjou University School of MedicineYeongtong-GuKorea
  3. 3.Department of RadiologyChung-Ang University College of MedicineDongjak-guKorea
  4. 4.Department of RadiologySoonchunhyang University HospitalYongsan-GuKorea
  5. 5.Department of PathologyUniversity of Ulsan College of Medicine, Asan Medical CenterSongpa-GuKorea
  6. 6.Department of SurgeryUniversity of Ulsan College of Medicine, Asan Medical CenterSongpa-GuRepublic of Korea
  7. 7.Department of Endocrinology and MetabolismUniversity of Ulsan College of Medicine, Asan Medical CenterSongpa-GuRepublic of Korea

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