Objective: Thyroid malignancies can present in different manners, among them as asymptomatic solid nodule being the most puzzling. Nodules have been found in the 60-70 % of autopsy specimens and it is very important to rule out the malignancies in such cases. Incidence of carcinomatous changes is reported in 5-15 % of solitary nodules. We present the results of prospective study on 418 thyroidectomies with the aim to review the experience of our unit, to establish the correlation between clinical presentation and histopathology, to discuss the malignancy rates and surgical complications.
Patients and methods: Five hundred eighteen consecutive cases of thyroidectomy 419 female (80.8 %), and 99 male (19.2 %) patients performed between January 2002 and October 2004 were included in this prospective study.
Results: In 71 (13.7 %) cases the malignancy was found by paraffin specimens, the highest prevalence of malignancy being found in patients with nodular goiter (NG-18 %) followed by 14.6 % in multinodular goiter (MNG). The sensitivity of preoperative fine needle cytology (FNAC) was 83.3 % with false positive rate of 1.3 %. Complications were seen in 5.2 % of cases of which 4 (0.7 %) had hypoparathyroidism and 7 (1.3 %) had recurrent laryngeal nerve injury. All patients observed came from endemic area. Family history nearly doubles the risk of malignancy.
Conclusions: In an endemic area the nodular goiter is the most common. Preoperative cytology, although sensitive, gives a considerable number of false positive results. Results of thyroid surgery at a high volume centre are satisfactory with very low rates of recurrent laryngeal nerve and parathyroid injury. Probability of malignant transformation in a long standing thyroid swelling should always be kept in mind. There appears to be an increase in prevalence of thyroid malignancies in Turkey after Chernobyl disaster.