Fine Needle Aspiration Used to Sample Thyroid Cells

Endocrinology Center- Bone Health, Thyroid, Diabetes Treatment - Baltimore

The Center for Endocrinology at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, includes some of the top rated thyroid specialists in the Mid-Atlantic region. Mercy’s expert team of endocrinologists use fine needle aspiration to diagnose and treat thyroid disorders.

What is Fine Needle Aspiration?

A fine needle aspiration is a procedure to remove a thyroid tissue sample for examination. It is often used to find out if thyroid lumps that are felt by the doctor or seen by ultrasound are cancerous. A fine needle aspiration is an outpatient procedure that typically takes about 20 minutes.

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How is a Fine Needle Aspiration performed?

A small gauge needle is inserted into the thyroid nodule to remove a tissue sample.  This procedure is performed a number of times to make sure enough tissue is removed for analysis. Patients hold their breath each time the needle is inserted to minimize the movement in the neck. Pressure is applied to the neck each time the needle is removed and at the end of the procedure to reduce bleeding. Typically, there is very little bleeding or swelling of the neck after a fine needle aspiration. The thyroid tissue is examined under a microscope to detect cancer cells.

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When is a Fine Needle Aspiration the best option?

Endocrinologists use a fine needle aspiration to detect thyroid disease and cancer when thyroid lumps are felt by the doctor or seen by ultrasound.