Thyroid needle aspiration
When is this exam indicated?
The indication for thyroid needle aspiration is provided by an endocrinologist during an outpatient visit, based on the patient's ultrasound features and nodule size. Clinical risk factors, such as family history of thyroid cancer and previous exposure to radiation in the neck area, especially in pediatric age, are also considered.
How is it performed?
Thyroid needle aspiration is performed on an outpatient basis, with the patient lying on the couch in a supine position, with the neck hyperextended. The puncture is performed with a fine needle (22-26 G) under ultrasound guidance. The collected material is then fixed on slides and sent to the pathology department for cytological examination. For large nodules, the examination is generally repeated in several places of the nodule.
There are no absolute contraindications to the examination. Patients on anticoagulant therapy should suspend the therapy for a variable time depending on the drug being used, to be replaced with heparin s.c., upon recommendation of the physician.