Is thyroid frozen section too much for too little?

Melanie L. Richards, Robert Chisholm, Jan M. Bruder, William E. Strodel, Thomas White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Background: The role of frozen section (FS) in thyroid disease is controversial. The goal of this study was to identify a cohort of patients who may or may not benefit from FS. Methods: Two hundred thirty-one patients who underwent thyroidectomy were evaluated in regard to fine-needle aspiration (FNA), FS, and the extent of surgery. Results: In all, 155 patients underwent FNA, 140 patients underwent FS, and 103 patients had both. A final diagnosis of malignancy was obtained in 47 of 231 patients. FNA had a sensitivity of 50% and a specificity of 99%, and FS had a sensitivity of 50% and a specificity of 100% for diagnosing malignancy. Accounting for the clinical findings and FNA results, FS results altered the extent of thyroidectomy in 1 of 103 patients. Conclusions: The increased costs for the operative time and the pathologists needed to obtain routine FS are not supported with any substantial benefit in patient outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)510-514
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002


  • Fine-needle aspiration
  • Frozen section
  • Thyroid
  • Thyroidectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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