Purpose: The purpose of this study was to estimate the accuracy, intra-observer variability and reliability of three-dimensional ultrasound (3D US) volume measurements of thyroid nodules with different size and echographic characteristics.
Methods and Materials: Methods and materials: In-vivo measurements of 129 thyroid nodules in children were performed using the commercially available 3D system "FreeScan" mounted to a conventional ultrasound scanner.
Results: Standard deviation of normalized difference of volume measurements for 3D US was 2.8% and 15.9% for 2D US (F test, p<0.01) showing clear superiority of 3D US over 2D US. Results of both methods do not depend on nodules echogenicity, although were significantly dependent on the nodules outline. For 2D US the intra-observer variability increased from 14.0% in nodules with regular outline to 24.5% with irregular (p<0.001) and from 5.1% to 9.3% (p<0.001) for 3D US. Intra-observer reliability dropped from 85.4% in regular nodules to 74.6% in irregular (p<0.001) for 2D US and from 94.7% to 90.4% (p<0.001) for 3D US. Moreover, in contrast to 3D US, stability of 2D US significantly decreased in small nodules and in the nodules without "Halo" sign.
Conclusion: 3D volume measurements are more accurate, less dependant on nodule's size and echographic characteristics, showing lower intra-observer variability and higher reliability than those made by 2D sonography.
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