THE CLINICAL diagnosis of thyroid swellings is not always reliable in spite of the fact that the gland is easily accessible and large numbers of laboratory aids are available. The surgeon, when confronted with a nodule in the thyroid gland, is faced with the problem of treating it as a benign or a malignant lesion because of the reported high incidence of malignancy, particularly in the solitary nodules.1-4 If a nodule treated as benign subsequently turns out to be malignant on histopathology. a second operation becomes a necessity and entails greater risk. However, it is not feasible either to treat all nodules as malignant.
The use of radioactive iodine also proves of no avail because this maneuver can only categorize the nodule as hot or cold. In order to obviate the above-mentioned difficulties, the Vim-Silverman needle was used to obtain thyroid material (needle biopsy) in 32 cases of nodular