Title

To err is human; acute appendicitis a mistaken clinical identity for metastatic follicular thyroid carcinoma, a case report

Document Type

Case Report

Department

Imaging and Diagnostic Radiology (East Africa)

Abstract

Introduction and importance

Thyroid cancer accounts for majority of endocrine cancers with follicular thyroid cancer the second most common. It tends to spread via hematogenous route with distant metastasis thus besides presenting as a neck mass it may also present with symptoms tallying to regions of metastasis which may misguide the diagnosis. We report a case of a 50-year-old man who presented with features of appendicitis only to discover metastatic right iliac bone follicular thyroid cancer. We describe our experience on diagnostic formulation, radiological work up, surgery, radioactive iodine therapy and follow up.

Case presentation

50-year-old man presenting with acute abdomen and fevers with suspicion for appendicitis, worked up and found to have metastatic follicular carcinoma. Underwent total thyroidectomy and radioactive iodine therapy to achieve disease stability without progression with a 5 year follow up completed.

Clinical discussion

The tendency to jump to medical imaging to establish a diagnosis in a lab oriented rather than clinical oriented approach. The role of radiology to establish the underlying disease and identify the primary lesion. Successfully halting disease progression for metastatic follicular thyroid carcinoma with surgery and radioactive iodine therapy.

Conclusion

Right iliac fossa tenderness does not always equate to acute appendicitis hence the use of diagnostic imaging to diagnose the metastatic lesion thus simplifying the puzzle to identify the primary. We hope through sharing our experience, we encourage the use of interventional radiology in a region that tends to opt for open approach when percutaneous approaches have shown to be successful.

Comments

This work was published - the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication

International Journal of Surgery Case Reports

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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