Which conditions are included in the differential diagnoses of solitary thyroid nodules?

Updated: Aug 19, 2020
  • Author: Daniel J Kelley, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Many thyroid diseases can manifest clinically as solitary thyroid nodule. The differential diagnosis of solitary thyroid nodule can be broadly classified into benign and malignant. Parameters for cytologic assessment of solitary nodules include (1) cellularity, (2) colloid content, (3) acinar formation, (4) papillary formation, (5) intranuclear cytoplasmic inclusions, (6) nuclear grooves, (7) marginal vacuoles, (8) Hürthle cells, (9) presence of various inflammatory cells, and (10) cellular atypia. The presence or absence of signs and symptoms of altered metabolic function can help establish the correct diagnosis. Generally, most thyroid nodules are benign and can be classified as adenomas, colloid nodules, congenital abnormalities, cysts, infectious nodules, lymphocytic or granulomatous nodules, or hyperplasia.

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