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Editor's Note
Nov 2011

The Importance of Volume in Fine-Needle Aspirations of the Thyroid : Comment on “Thyroid Fine-Needle Aspiration”

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2011;137(11):1140. doi:10.1001/archoto.2011.191

Data from many fields of medicine support the concept that greater clinical volume and clinical experience predict better quality. Houlton et al retrospectively evaluate the role of case volume magnitude. Limitations of the study include the fact that the pathologists were at 3 different centers, the absence of follow-up data after surgery, and the lack of definition regarding whether fine-needle aspiration (FNA) localization was performed with or without ultrasonographic localization. Despite these shortcomings, the study does support the fact that the greater the experience of the cytopathologist, the greater the diagnostic accuracy. This fact is important for the practitioner and medical policy maker alike, but, most important, it provides for the treating physician important guidance in determining the accuracy of the FNA in defining a patient's treatment plan.