OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study is to investigate follow-up strategies for cytologically benign thyroid nodules according to size and ultrasound (US) pattern according to the 2015 American Thyroid Association (ATA) guidelines in the era of the Bethesda system. MATERIALS AND METHODS. This retrospective study included 1208 patients with 1230 nodules that were cytologically benign at initial fine-needle aspiration performed from June 2012 to December 2014. False-negative rates (FNRs) were calculated by considering nodule size and US pattern according to the 2015 ATA guidelines and were compared between nodules with the high-suspicion US pattern and nodules with the high- or intermediate-suspicion US patterns according to size. RESULTS. Twenty-five of the 1230 nodules (2.0%) were malignant. The FNRs were 5.1% (8/158) for nodules with the high-suspicion US pattern and 1.6% (17/1072) for nodules with other US patterns. With regard to nodule size, the FNRs were 3.2% (9/277) for nodules 3 cm or larger and 5.2% (6/115) for nodules 4 cm or larger. The FNRs of nodules with the high-suspicion pattern were not significantly higher than those of nodules with the high- or intermediate-suspicion patterns among nodules 2 cm or larger (2.5% vs 1.9%; p = 0.208), 3 cm or larger (3.4% vs 2.9%; p = 0.498), and 4 cm or larger (5.4% vs 3.8%; p = 0.353). CONCLUSION. Thyroid nodules with initial benign cytologic findings had a low malignancy rate in the era of the Bethesda system, regardless of US pattern and size. Therefore, any immediate diagnostic intervention may be discouraged in cytologically benign nodules.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging