Thyroid needle aspiration

What is it?

Thyroid needle aspiration is a mini-invasive diagnostic procedure that consists of a sampling with a fine needle under ultrasound guidance at the level of one or more nodules of the thyroid gland. This allows to obtain a sample of cells which are then examined microscopically by the anatomopathologist, in order to have a cytological diagnosis of the nature of the nodule. In particular, on the basis of the needle aspiration result, thyroid nodules are divided into 5 classes characterized by an increasing risk of malignancy. This information, together with the ultrasound characteristics of the nodule and the patient's clinical status, allows the endocrinologist to define the most appropriate therapeutic course for each patient.

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.

Are you interested in receiving the treatment?

Contact us and we will take care of you.