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The role of ultrasound in the diagnosis of a large, rapidly growing, thyroid mass.
  1. A. D. King,
  2. A. T. Ahuja,
  3. W. King,
  4. C. Metreweli
  1. Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Organ Imaging, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong.


    The value of ultrasound in the diagnosis of a large rapidly growing thyroid mass was assessed in a study of 42 patients with a large (> 3 cm) rapidly growing (< two months) solitary mass. Haemorrhage into a thyroid nodule was present in 31 patients and thyroid malignancy in 11. Ultrasound of haemorrhage into a thyroid nodule revealed a large cystic mass in all 31 patients containing internal debris (22), septations (three), or a combination of both (six). The malignant causes of a large rapidly growing mass were lymphoma (two), anaplastic carcinoma (four) and metastasis (five). Ultrasound of these thyroid malignancies revealed a mass with a smooth, well-defined margin and strikingly low homogeneous echogenicity in all cases. Patients with thyroid metastases had evidence of widespread metastatic disease elsewhere. Lymphoma was differentiated from anaplastic carcinoma on fine-needle aspiration cytology or surgical biopsy. Ultrasound was of value in differentiating between a benign haemorrhagic nodule and a malignant tumour. The various malignant tumours had similar appearances, however, and could not be distinguished on ultrasound.

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