Acta radiologica (Stockholm, Sweden : 1987) 2017 03 2659(2) 196-203 doi 10.1177/0284185117700448
Background In papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) patients, postoperative ultrasonography (US) surveillance is recommended at intervals of six or 12 months even though evidence is weak. Purpose To determine the optimal interval of postoperative US surveillance in patients after total thyroidectomy for the treatment of PTC using multicenter data. Material and Methods A total of 1400 patients from seven tertiary hospitals who underwent total thyroidectomy for treatment of PTC were included. Based on a retrospective review of clinical and pathologic results, multiple factors were analyzed according to recurrence/persistence or no recurrence/persistence. In recurrence/persistence group, the interval and number of follow-up US sessions in the initial detection of recurrence/persistence were investigated. Results Of the 1400 patients, 115 (8.2%) showed tumor recurrence/persistence on follow-up US. Of 115 recurrence/persistence cases, 89 (77.4%) were initially detected on US: nodal recurrence/persistence (n = 92), non-nodal recurrence/persistence (n = 22), and both (n = 1). Among the clinical and pathologic factors, only tumor size and N stage were significant predictors for recurrence/persistence. In the recurrence/persistence group, the mean interval and number of follow-up US sessions in the initial detection of recurrence/persistence was 22.3 ± 16.8 months and 2.2 ± 1.9, respectively. Approximately two-thirds of recurrence/persistence cases (76/115, 66.1%) were detected in follow-up US within two years after total thyroidectomy. Conclusion In PTC patients after total thyroidectomy, the optimal interval of the first US follow-up may be one to two years after thyroid surgery, and the appropriate number of postoperative US surveillance sessions within the first five years may be only one or two.