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Sonographic Evaluation of Cervical Lymph Nodes in Papillary Thyroid Cancer

Shin, Lewis K. MD*†; Olcott, Eric W. MD*†; Jeffrey, R. Brooke MD*; Desser, Terry S. MD*

doi: 10.1097/RUQ.0b013e31827c7a9e
Pictorial Essay

Sonography is the modality of choice for imaging cervical lymph nodes in patients with papillary thyroid cancer, both before surgery and for postoperative surveillance. Sonography is also an invaluable tool to guide fine-needle aspiration of abnormal nodes. Microcalcifications, cystic changes, abnormal morphology, and disordered vascularity are features of metastatic nodal involvement with papillary thyroid carcinoma and should be sought during surveillance scans as well as in targeting for fine-needle aspiration.

*Department of Radiology, Stanford University, Stanford; and †Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, Palo Alto, CA.

Received for publication August 15, 2012; accepted October 12, 2012.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Terry S. Desser, MD, Department of Radiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, 300 Pasteur Dr, H1307, Stanford, CA 94305 (e-mail:

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.