Superb microvascular imaging (SMI) for depiction of microvascular flow in thyroid nodules was compared with color/power Doppler imaging (CDI/PDI) and contrast-enhanced ultrasonography (CEUS). In addition, the diagnostic performance of conventional ultrasound combined with SMI for differentiating benign and malignant thyroid nodules was evaluated.
Preoperative conventional ultrasound consisting of gray-scale ultrasonography and CDI/PDI, followed by SMI and CEUS, was used to record 52 thyroid nodules. Two radiologists analyzed the gray-scale ultrasound signs and nodules’ microvascular flow patterns to differentiate between benign (n = 13) and malignant nodules (n = 39).
SMI was significantly more effective in the detection of microvascular flow signals than CDI/PDI. In malignant nodules, SMI depicted the presence of incomplete surrounding periphery microvasculature and of disordered heterogeneous internal microvasculature. Benign nodules showed complete surrounding periphery microvasculature (ring sign) and homogeneity internal branching. The accuracies of conventional ultrasound combined with CDI/ PDI, SMI, or CEUS for predicting malignancy were 67.31, 86.54, and 92.31%, respectively. The accuracy of SMI differed significantly from CDI/PDI (P = 0.012), but not from CEUS (P = 0.339).
Microvascular flow and vessel branching in the peripheral and internal microvasculature of thyroid nodules is depicted with greater detail and clarity with SMI compared with conventional ultrasound. SMI offers a safe and low-cost alternative to CEUS for differentiating between benign and malignant thyroid nodules.
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- Superb microvascular imaging (SMI) compared with conventional ultrasound for evaluating thyroid nodules
- BioMed Central
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