Context: Preoperative fine-needle aspiration of thyroid lesions has greatly diminished the need for surgical evaluation. However, because thyroid nodules are common lesions, many still require surgical intervention and represent a substantial number of cases that the pathologist encounters in the frozen section laboratory.
Objective: Comprehensive reviews of frozen section indications, as well as gross, cytologic, and histologic features of the most common and diagnostically important thyroid and parathyroid lesions, are presented to provide a guideline for proper triage and management of these cases in the frozen section laboratory. The most common pitfalls are discussed in an attempt to avoid discordant diagnoses.
Data sources: Thyroid lobectomy, subtotal or total thyroidectomy, and parathyroid biopsy or parathyroidectomy cases are included in this review.
Conclusions: The frozen section evaluation of thyroid and parathyroid lesions remains a highly accurate procedure with a low false-positive rate. Gross inspection, complemented by cytologic and histologic review, provides the surgeon with the rapid, reliable, cost-effective information necessary for optimum patient care.