Cytopathology of Thyroid Nodules:
The value of fine needle aspiration (FNA) in the diagnosis and management of thyroid nodules has been well established (1–5). We share the opinion of Hayes et al. (6) that FNA should be the first test ordered when evaluating any palpable thyroid lesion. In this era of cost containment, FNA can be used even more effectively if attention is paid to the fundamentals. According to Kaplan, “The main current limitations are the inability of even skilled operators to obtain an adequate specimen in up to 20% of the cases……(this) problem probably is beyond remedy.”(7) I disagree. Based on over 20 years experience at a university medical center, I believe that more emphasis must be placed on the technique employed to obtain the sample (8–10). A discussion of technique is beyond the scope of the present chapter. Although the procedure is simple, it is not simple-minded. It can be taught or perfected in a relatively short time. I cannot overemphasize that a good sample is the cornerstone of diagnosis. A pathologist is only as good as the sample obtained or received.
KeywordsPapillary Thyroid Carcinoma Thyroid Nodule Papillary Carcinoma Medullary Carcinoma Multinodular Goiter
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