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    Fine needle aspiration of the thyroid

    Thyroid nodule fine needle aspirate biopsy; Biopsy - thyroid - skinny-needle; Skinny-needle thyroid biopsy

    A fine needle aspiration of the thyroid gland is a procedure to remove thyroid cells for examination. The thyroid is located in the neck in front of the trachea (windpipe).

    How the Test is Performed

    This test may be done in the health care provider's office or in a hospital. Numbing medicine (anesthesia) may or may not be used because the needle is very thin.

    You will lie on your back with a pillow under your shoulders and your neck extended. The biopsy site is cleaned. A thin needle is inserted into the thyroid, and a sample of thyroid cells and fluid are removed. The needle is then taken out.

    Pressure will be applied to the biopsy site to stop any bleeding. The site will be covered with a bandage.

    How to Prepare for the Test

    Tell your health care provider if you have drug allergies, bleeding problems, or are pregnant. You should also make sure your health care provider has a current list of all medications you take, including herbal remedies and over-the-counter drugs.

    A few days to a week before surgery, you may be asked to stop taking drugs that make it harder for your blood to clot. Talk with your doctor before stopping any drugs. The drugs you may need to stop taking include:

    • Aspirin
    • Clopidogrel (Plavix)
    • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
    • Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn)
    • Warfarin (Coumadin)

    How the Test Will Feel

    If numbing medicine is used, you may feel a sting as the needle is inserted and the medicine is injected.

    As the needle passes into the thyroid, you may feel some pressure but it should not be painful.

    You may have slight discomfort in your neck afterward. You may also have a small amount of bruising, which will go away over time.

    Why the Test is Performed

    This is a test to diagnose thyroid disease or thyroid cancer. It is often used tofind out ifthyroid lumps that are felt by the doctor or seen by ultrasound are noncancerous or cancerous.

    Normal Results

    The thyroid tissue looks normal and the cells do notappearto be cancerunder a microscope.

    What Abnormal Results Mean

    Abnormal results may mean:

    • Diffuse thyroid disease such as goiter or thyroiditis
    • Noncancerous tumors
    • Thyroid cancer

    Risks

    The main risk is bleeding into or around the thyroid gland. If bleeding is severe, there maybe pressure on thewindpipe (trachea). Thisproblem is rare.

    References

    Gharib H, Papini E, Paschke R, et al. American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, Associazione Medici Endocrinologi, and European Thyroid Association Medical Guidelines for Clinical Practice for the Diagnosis and Management of Thyroid Nodules. Endocr Pract. 2010;16(suppl 1):1-43.

    Kim M, Ladenson P. Thyroid. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 233.

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    • Endocrine glands

      illustration

    • Thyroid gland biopsy

      illustration

      • Endocrine glands

        illustration

      • Thyroid gland biopsy

        illustration

      A Closer Look

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        Tests for Fine needle aspiration of the thyroid

        Review Date: 6/26/2012

        Reviewed By: Shehzad Topiwala, MD, Chief Consultant Endocrinologist, Premier Medical Associates, The Villages, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

        The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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