Cost effectiveness of intraoperative pathology in the management of indeterminate thyroid nodules


Arch. Endocrinol. Metab.




ABSTRACT Objective This study aims to determine the cost effectiveness of rapid frozen section (RFS) for indeterminate thyroid nodules. Materials and methods A retrospective chart review was conducted between January 2009 and June 2013 at a tertiary care institution. Main outcomes were number needed to treat, RFS efficacy, and cost-savings of avoiding second completion thyroidectomy. Cost-effectiveness was estimated using 2015 Medicare reimbursement rate. Results Out of 1,114 patients undergoing thyroid surgery, 314 had preoperative AUS/FLUS cytopathology and subsequent thyroid lobectomy with RFS. RFS identified 13 of the 32 patients with malignancy resulting in a total thyroidectomy. 19 of the 29 malignancies not detected by RFS were papillary microcarcinomas. Conclusions Completion thyroidectomy was avoided in 1 out of every 24 patients resulting in cost-savings of $ 80.04 per patient. In the era of outpatient thyroid surgery, intraoperative RFS for indeterminate thyroid nodules is cost-effective.

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