Background: The use of high-resolution ultrasound (US) imaging is a mainstay of the initial evaluation and long-term management of thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer. To fully capitalize on the diagnostic capabilities of a US examination in the context of thyroid disease, many clinicians consider it desirable to establish a universal format and standard of US reporting. The goals of this interdisciplinary consensus statement are twofold. First, to create a standardized set of US features to characterize thyroid nodules and cervical lymph nodes accurately, and second, to create a standardized system for tracking sequential changes in the US examination of thyroid nodules and cervical lymph nodes for the purpose of determining risk of malignancy.
Summary: The Thyroid, Head and Neck Cancer (THANC) Foundation convened a panel of nine specialists from a variety of medical disciplines that are actively involved in the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer. Consensus was achieved on the following topics: US evaluation of the thyroid gland, US evaluation of thyroid nodules, US evaluation of cervical lymph nodes, US-guided fine needle aspiration (FNA) of thyroid nodules, and US-guided FNA of cervical lymph nodes.
Conclusion: We propose that this statement represents a consensus within a multidisciplinary team on the salient and essential elements of a comprehensive and clinically significant thyroid and neck US report with regards to content, terminology, and organization. This reporting protocol supplements previous US performance guidelines by not only capturing categories of findings that may have important clinical implications, but also delineating findings that are clinically relevant within those categories as specifically as possible. Additionally, we have included the specific features of diagnostic and therapeutic interventions that have not been previously addressed.