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Thyroid nodules: clinical importance, assessment, and treatment.

In the general population, thyroid nodules are found in 5% by palpation and in 50% by ultrasonography (US). Initial evaluation of nodules should include serum thyroid-stimulating hormone measurement, fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy, and US. Thyroid micronodules are being detected with increasing frequency and are currently evaluated by US-FNA. Routine measurement of serum calcitonin and thyroglobulin and FNA rebiopsy are not recommended. Cytologically benign thyroid nodules should be followed rather than treated. Novel treatment options including iodine 131, percutaneous ethanol injection, and percutaneous laser thermal ablation have specific indications, advantages, and adverse effects.

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