Fine-needle aspiration (FNA) cytology of the thyroid is usually performed on an outpatient basis. The results of FNA are operator dependent and may be affected by the lesion characteristics and the aspiration technique. In current practice ultrasound (US) is widely used to guide the needle for aspiration of nondominant nodules. Our study aimed to compare the free-hand FNA with US-guided FNA in the evaluation of thyroid nodules. A total of 91 cases of thyroid lesions were studied at the Department of Pathology, Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences, Hubli, India. All the cases underwent free-hand and US-guided FNA. The cytological samples from both procedures were analyzed for adequacy, cytological features, and possible diagnosis. The results were correlated with histopathological diagnosis whenever possible. Of 91 aspirates, 89 were satisfactory and 2 were unsatisfactory on US-guided FNA, whereas 85 were satisfactory and 6 were unsatisfactory in free-hand FNA. Of 91 cases 68 (74.7%) were nonneoplastic lesions and 21 (23.1%) were neoplastic lesions in US-guided FNA, whereas 67 cases (73.6%) were nonneoplastic and 18 cases (19.8%) were neoplastic in free-hand FNA. Histopathological study was possible in 25 patients, among whom 15 lesions were nonneoplastic and 10 were neoplastic. Sensitivity and specificity of US-guided FNA to detect neoplastic lesions were 81.81% and 92.85%, respectively, compared with free-hand FNA, for which the sensitivity and specificity were 54.54% and 92.85%, respectively. The diagnostic accuracy of guided FNA was 88% against the 76% accuracy rate of free-hand FNA. US-guided FNA provides a better representative sample and has a higher diagnostic rate in the evaluation of thyroid lesions.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.