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Alternative Names Return to topThyroid nodule fine needle aspirate biopsy; Biopsy - thyroid - skinny-needle; Skinny-needle thyroid biopsy
Definition Return to top
A fine needle aspiration of the thyroid gland is a procedure to remove thyroid cells for examination. The thyroid is located in front of the trachea (windpipe) at the top of the neck.
How the Test is Performed Return to top
This test may be done in the health care provider's office or in a hospital. Usually numbing medicine (anesthesia) is not needed 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 Return to top
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.
How the Test Will Feel Return to top
You may feel a sting as the needle is inserted.
Why the Test is Performed Return to top
This is a test to diagnose thyroid disease or thyroid cancer. It is often used to get information on thyroid lumps that can either be felt by the doctor or seen by ultrasound.
Normal Results Return to top
The thyroid tissue is normal in structure and the cells appear noncancerous under a microscope.
What Abnormal Results Mean Return to top
Abnormal results may mean:
Risks Return to top
The main risk is bleeding into or around the thyroid gland. If bleeding is severe, the windpipe (trachea) may be compressed. This complication is rare.Update Date: 5/15/2008 Updated by: Robert A. Cowles, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.