The American Thyroid Association develops Clinical Practice Guidelines to provide guidance and recommendations for particular practice areas concerning thyroid disease and thyroid cancer. The Guidelines are not inclusive of all proper approaches or methods, or exclusive of others. The Guidelines do not establish a standard of care and specific outcomes are not guaranteed.

Treatment decisions must be made based on the independent judgment of health care providers and each patient’s individual circumstances. A guideline is not intended to take the place of physician judgment in diagnosing and treatment of particular patients. It is also not intended to serve as a basis to approve or deny financial coverage for any specific therapeutic or diagnostic modality.

The ATA develops guidelines based on the evidence available in the literature and the expert opinion of the task force in the recent timeframe of the publication of the guidelines. Management issues have not been and cannot be comprehensively addressed in randomized trials; therefore, the evidence cannot be comprehensive. Guidelines cannot always account for individual variation among patients. Guidelines cannot be considered inclusive of all proper methods of care or exclusive of other treatments reasonably directed at obtaining the same results.

Therefore, the American Thyroid Association considers adherence to this guideline to be voluntary, with the ultimate determination regarding its application to be made by the treating physician and health care professionals with the full consideration of the individual patient’s clinical history and physical status. In addition, the guideline concerns the therapeutic interventions used in clinical practice and do not pertain to clinical trials. Clinical trials are a separate matter, designed to research new and novel therapies, and the guidelines are not necessarily relevant to their purpose.

Guideline development includes an identification of areas for future study and research, indicating the focus for future investigational therapy; based on the findings reviewed and synthesized from the latest literature.