Thyroid FNA (Fine Needle Aspiration)

Thyroid FNA is a minimally invasive procedure used to find the cause of a nodule, or abnormality, in the thyroid gland. Under ultrasound guidance, interventional radiologists use a hollow needle to remove a small sample of tissue from the suspicious area. The sample is then examined under a microscope by a pathologist to determine a diagnosis.

Minimally invasive. Minimal discomfort.

Our radiologists have extensive experience with minimally invasive procedures, including thyroid fine needle aspiration. Thyroid FNA allows us to sample thyroid lesions with precision—and at minimal discomfort to the patient. Ultrasound guidance shows real-time images of the area in question, guiding our experts through the removal of cells. The procedure is outpatient and usually takes less than 30 minutes to complete, and in many cases, it provides a definitive diagnosis without the need for a more invasive surgical approach. Our radiologists are board-certified and subspecialized, making us highly qualified for your procedure. Remember to ask your doctor for a referral to Eastern Radiologists.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I expect?

During the procedure, you may feel some pressure on your neck from the ultrasound transducer, as well as mild discomfort as the needle is moved to obtain the cells; however, Thyroid FNA is not painful and recovery time is brief. Most patients can resume normal activities within a few hours. The biopsy site may be tender for a day or two, but over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen, can be taken to relieve any discomfort.

How effective is Thyroid FNA?

The results of Thyroid FNA are close to 95% accurate for adequate biopsies. It’s a reliable method of obtaining tissue samples that can help determine whether a nodule is benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). What’s more, a needle biopsy is less invasive than open and closed surgical biopsies, both of which involve larger incisions and local or general anesthesia.

What are the risks?

Complications are rare and include infection, bleeding at the site of biopsy, and injury to structures adjacent to the thyroid.

Schedule an appointment.

Please have your doctor schedule your appointment for this service. If you have questions about your appointment or need to reschedule call 252.752.5000. This service is offered at the following locations:

Prepare for your appointment.

*Please review the Thyroid FNA patient instructions link prior to your appointment.

Please do not eat or drink for eight hours prior to your examination. A small amount of water is permitted, should you need to take any medications.

Please report all medications (including herbal supplements) that you are currently taking, especially anticoagulants like Coumadin or Plavix.