The success of surgery for thyroid cancer hinges on thorough and accurate preoperative imaging, which enables complete clearance of the primary tumor and affected lymph node compartments. This working group was charged by the Surgical Affairs Committee of the American Thyroid Association to examine the available literature and to review the most appropriate imaging studies for the planning of initial and revision surgery for thyroid cancer.Ultrasound remains the most important imaging modality in the evaluation of thyroid cancer, and should be used routinely to assess both the primary tumor and all associated cervical lymph node basins preoperatively. Positive lymph nodes may be distinguished from normal nodes based upon size, shape, echogenicity, hypervascularity, loss of hilar architecture, and the presence of calcifications. Ultrasound-guided fine-needle aspiration of suspicious lymph nodes may be useful in guiding the extent of surgery. Cross-sectional imaging (computed tomography with contrast or magnetic resonance imaging) may be considered in select circumstances to better characterize tumor invasion and bulky, inferiorly located, or posteriorly located lymph nodes, or when ultrasound expertise is not available. The above recommendations are applicable to both initial and revision surgery. Functional imaging with positron emission tomography (PET) or PET-CT may be helpful in cases of recurrent cancer with positive tumor markers and negative anatomic imaging.
View details for DOI 10.1089/thy.2014.0096
View details for PubMedID 25188202