May 1991

Avoiding Reoperation for Indeterminate Thyroid Nodules Identified as Malignant After Surgery

Author Affiliations

From the Divisions of General Surgery (Dr Block) and Diabetes and Endocrinology (Drs Dailey and Muchmore), Scripps Clinic Medical Group Inc, La Jolla, Calif.

Arch Surg. 1991;126(5):598-602. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1991.01410290074015

• Thyroid nodules that are indeterminate as carcinoma by needle biopsy before surgery and by study of frozen sections at the time of surgery are occasionally identified to be malignant in later studies. If only a lobectomy has been performed, the advisability of reoperation to remove the remaining thyroid tissue to facilitate radioactive iodine therapy may cause concern. To obviate this difficulty as well as to reduce the occurrence of nodules later in a preserved contralateral thyroid lobe and to provide additional thyroid tissue for study, contralateral subtotal or near total lobectomy has been performed for indeterminate thyroid nodules. The small remnant of remaining thyroid tissue can later be ablated by radioactive iodine if desired. Of 37 patients with indeterminate thyroid nodules, none required reoperation, although the diagnosis of carcinoma was established after surgery for eight patients, three of whom were treated with radioactive iodine.

(Arch Surg. 1991;126:598-602)