Outcomes of incidentally discovered thyroid nodules referred to a high-volume head and neck surgeon

Teresa R. Kroeker, Gavin Le Nobel, Mazin Merdad, Jeremy L. Freeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background Incidental thyroid nodules are commonly found by radiological studies done for other indications. The yearly incidence of thyroid cancer is increasing, in part because of detection of nonpalpable nodules on imaging performed for unrelated issues. Methods All new patients referred to a high-volume thyroid surgeon for thyroid nodules were reviewed between February 2009 and January 2011. Data regarding patient demographics, risk factors, referring physician, radiologic findings, fine-needle aspiration (FNA) results, and management were reviewed. Results One hundred thirty-three of 729 patients (18.2%) had a thyroid nodule or nodules incidentally found on ultrasound, MRI, CT, nuclear imaging, or chest x-ray. Fifty-five patients (41.4%) were managed surgically, with 35 (63.6%) of those having thyroid cancer on final surgical pathology. Conclusion Based on radiologic findings, risk factors, and FNA results, many incidental thyroid nodules can be observed. Incidental thyroid nodules should be evaluated in the same fashion as a palpable thyroid nodule.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-129
Number of pages4
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • incidental
  • management
  • nodules
  • outcomes
  • thyroid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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