Diagnostic yield of nondiagnostic thyroid nodules is not altered by timing of repeat biopsy

Thyroid. 2012 Jun;22(6):590-4. doi: 10.1089/thy.2011.0442.


Background: Guidelines from the National Cancer Institute Thyroid Fine Needle Aspiration State of the Science Conference recommend a repeat fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) after 3 months for thyroid nodules with a nondiagnostic (ND) result. Our aims were to assess which factors influenced their clinical management and to determine if the timing of the repeat FNAB affects the diagnostic yield.

Methods: A retrospective institutional review of 298 patients from 1/2006 to 12/2007 with an ND FNAB was performed. The factors influencing the next step in management, including age, gender, history of radiation, presence of Hashimoto's thyroiditis, thyroid-stimulating hormone levels, and ultrasound characteristics, were evaluated. The effect of the time of the repeat FNABs on their diagnostic yield was assessed.

Results: Of the 298 patients in our cohort, 9% were referred directly for surgery, 76% had a repeat FNAB, and 15% were observed. Tumor size was the only independent variable correlated with treatment strategy after a ND FNAB. There was not a significant difference in diagnostic yields between repeat FNABs performed earlier than 3 months compared to those preformed later (p=0.58).

Conclusion: The timing of repeat FNAB for an initial ND FNAB does not affect diagnostic yield of the repeat FNAB.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biopsy, Fine-Needle
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiotherapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Thyroid Gland / diagnostic imaging
  • Thyroid Gland / pathology*
  • Thyroid Nodule / diagnosis*
  • Thyroid Nodule / pathology*
  • Thyroid Nodule / therapy
  • Thyroidectomy
  • Thyrotropin / blood
  • Time Factors
  • Ultrasonography


  • Thyrotropin