• Vol. 43 No. 2, 102–106
  • 15 February 2014

Diagnostic Value of Ultrasound-detected Calcification in Thyroid Nodules



Introduction: This study analyses the diagnostic value of ultrasonography (US) detection for calcification in thyroid nodules.

Materials and Methods: We analysed the preoperative US findings and clinical characteristics of 577 malignant and 3434 benign thyroid patients who underwent surgery in our hospital.

Results: The malignant rate in patients with microcalcification hyperechoic and tiny calcification foci ≤2 mm in diameter was significantly higher than the non-calcification and other calcification group (P <0.001). The malignant rate in single calcification nodule was significantly higher than that in multiple nodule group (P <0.01). Most of the patients (37/39) with lymph node calcification were malignant. The malignant rate of calcification and microcalcification was significantly higher in patients <45 years old than in older patients (P <0.05).

Conclusion: Compared with other calcifications, microcalcification should be a better predictor of thyroid carcinoma. Malignancy should be highly suspected in patients with single calcification nodule, especially with lymph node calcification. Patients younger than 45 years of age with calcification or microcalcification have a greater risk for thyroid carcinoma.

Thyroid nodules which can be palpated are present in between 4% and 7% of the population. Solid nodules as small as 3 mm and cysts of 2 mm can be detected with high-frequency ultrasonography (US). US has been also commonly used to differentiate malignant nodules from all thyroid lesions using several sonographic features. Both benign and malignant thyroid nodules can present with calcifications in thyroid images but the incidence of calcification (especially microcalcification) is higher in malignant thyroid nodules. Thus, the purpose of this study is to further evaluate the association of different types of calcifications detected on the ultrasound to thyroid carcinoma, and to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of different calcification types, in a large cohort of chinese patients.

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