Objective: To evaluate the usefulness of ultrasonography including Doppler flow imaging for the preoperative staging of thyroid papillary carcinoma.
Materials and methods: In 77 patients with thyroid papillary carcinoma who underwent total thyroidectomy, the accuracy of ultrasonography in preoperative clinical staging was assessed with use of pathologic examination on the basis of TNM classification by the International Union Against Cancer (UICC).
Results: In 63 (81.8%) cases, T categories were estimated accurately. The sensitivity in depicting tumor extension into the prethyroidal muscle and/or the sternocleidomastoid muscle was 77.8%, whereas the sensitivity for invasion into the trachea and the esophagus was 42.9 and 28.6%, respectively. In 37 (48.1%) cases, N categories were underestimated, and the sensitivity in the detection of regional lymph node metastasis was 36.7%. Doppler flow imaging was performed in 36 patients, and no correlation was found between flow patterns and the presence of local invasion or regional lymph node metastasis.
Conclusion: Ultrasonography was useful for preoperative investigation of thyroid papillary carcinoma, but several limitations existed, especially in evaluating extracapsular invasion to deep locations and regional lymph node metastasis.