Follicular carcinoma of the thyroid



Follicular carcinoma deserves a careful preoperative evaluation and multidisciplinary therapy planning. Needle aspiration may be of less value than for other thyroid lesions. If the surgeon is suspicious of a carcinoma, a total lobectomy of the involved side and frozen section may be indicated. Lobectomy with or without isthmusectomy seems to be the minimal treatment for tumors confined to the lobe without nodal metastases. Total thyroidectomy is reserved for patients at high risk by nature of age, large lesions, angioinvasion, capsular invasion, or known metastatic disease where subsequent I-131 therapy is considered likely. I-131 scanning for metastatic disease is indicated in these high-risk patients. I-131 therapy is very valuable for treatment of metastatic disease; and in patients presenting with metastatic disease, total thyroidectomy may be indicated to maximize the therapeutic benefit of the I-131. Judicious planning and care of these patients can result in a 50 to 70% total cure and as high as 85% long-term survival.