Correlation of fine needle aspiration cytology and histopathological examination in thyroid swellings: a prospective study


  • Shenbagavalli S. Upgraded Institute of Otorhinolaryngology, Madras Medical College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
  • Muthukumar R. Upgraded Institute of Otorhinolaryngology, Madras Medical College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India



Thyroid swellings, FNAC, Histopathology


Background: Thyroid swellings are not an uncommon condition. Physical examination, laboratory investigation, thyroid imaging, and cytology can be used to evaluate thyroid swellings. After a physical examination, ultrasonography and thyroid function tests, fine needle aspiration (FNA) cytology should be implemented. Although FNA cytology is a common method to evaluate the nodule, false negative and false positive results are not rare. Hence histopathology examination is confirmatory. Information gathered from history, physical examination, ultrasound and intraoperative appearance of thyroid swelling dictate further management. The purpose of the study is to correlate preoperative FNAC and postoperative histopathology in thyroid swellings.

Methods: This study of 52 in-patients with thyroid lesions was treated at UIORL-RGGGH MMC Chennai. FNAC and USG were used as preoperative tools for determining the procedure to be performed and was followed by HPE postoperatively for further management.  

Results: Diagnostic categorization of 52 thyroid swellings were based on FNAC and histopathology. According to FNAC, 88.46% swellings were benign lesions and 11.54% were a malignancy. According to HPE, 82.69% were benign lesions and 17.31% were a malignancy. In our study, the collection of thyroid cases emphasizes the false negativity of FNAC. Cases suspicious of malignancy were decided based on intraoperative changes and were given a note of caution to the pathologists for a meticulous evaluation of slides.

Conclusions: FNAC is a simple, safe and cost-effective modality of investigation for thyroid disease but in cases of false negativity histopathology is confirmatory. The false positive results were found to be nil however there is a low percentage of false negative results which has to be confirmed by HPE.


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